Many family caregivers feel unappreciated at some time, it comes with the territory.
Family Caregivers often feel unappreciated, sad and their situation hopeless. This is what I hear when I talk to other adult children who are family caregivers who give up their life, their family and sometimes their career to care for our older parents. This can lead to resentment and lots of stress.
It’s more common than we can imagine. Now let me say that there are family and friends who know we have a tough job but the majority just don’t seem to understand this fact.
I’m a 24/7 care provider to my mother. I know many people who are part time caregivers, some are still working a job, and there are many providing 24/7 just like I am.
Our job can be scary, intimidating, or discouraging when we’re the one responsible for someone else’s life.
Many cranky, crazy and funky feelings come to the surface when we’re caring for an aging parent day after day. Even though we love our parent, our emotions start to take over our life. We try hard to keep these feelings to our self so we don’t look like we’re resenting our parents. Then one day it’s built up so much that we explode or become ill our self.
The aged parent is so focused on how they’re suffering and their minds are declining that they have no idea how we’re feeling or what our needs are. To feel underappreciated or to feel invisible starts to creep in, so to speak. Here’s an article from AARP on strategies for handling resentment and getting few thanks for all that we do for our loved one.
The energy we once had becomes less and less as we put our life on hold and put all our attention to our parent or loved one. It’s like our family and friends have no idea exactly what we do. We start to feel lonely, sadness and many other emotions come to the top.
Things that seemed simple have now become difficult when we feel we’re all alone.
Do you find yourself feeling alone and jealous when you see your family and friends vacation posted on facebook or just hear about their shopping trips? Things that most family caregivers can’t do anymore because of our responsibility to our parent. Sometimes we don’t even know what’s happening to us.
I think these feelings are natural and it’s going to happen. We’re only human. At times things aren’t fair. Life isn’t always fair. Some times we feel like we’re being taken advantage of and maybe we are. The only problem with this is, we can’t force people to see us or understand how we feel.
Family members are in their own little world and we don’t belong there. We have to take control of our own feelings because no one else will. It may be hard to pull our self out but if we want to survive we have to. It’ll be hard, but if we have a friend that we can talk to, we can do it.
We know in our heart the reason why we’re caring for our parent. Even if we feel like no one notices the sacrifices we make we still need to continue on because we aren’t doing it for all those other people. We’re doing it for our self and for our aged parent. I started making a gratitude list and it’s helping me to see the blessings in front of me instead of the negatives.
There are times when ‘feeling hopeless’ packs it’s suitcase and comes right along with us on this journey.
When we see difficulty in front of us we want to recognize it as soon as we can.
I’ve quit so many times in my head it isn’t funny. But I’m still here. I don’t give up even when the ride gets bumpy.
When I get that overwhelming hopeless feeling and it starts to grab me I ‘MAKE’ myself get up and walk to another room just to get my mind to focus on something else and usually the feeling goes away.
Family Caregivers go underappreciated.
We, Family Caregivers, give and give until it hurts, but who comforts us in return?
Do you feel all alone?
Family or friends who are not caring for an elderly parent don’t have a clue how hard it is.
There are days when I feel like nothing I do for mom is good enough. I have to hold my head high and know that I’m doing the best I know how.
The pain is real. Mom is very hard to reason with sometime. Her memory is getting strange. Mom has always been a tough person for me to understand.
Here are some words of encouragement for women who are caring for a mother.
Do something for yourself — get a new haircut, have a massage or go for a walk around the block. Anything to break the negative feeling. No one is going to take care of you but YOU.
“If you can’t change your fate, change your attitude.” ~ Amy Tan
Remember that family is the most important thing in the world.
“It’s not the load that breaks you down. It’s the way you carry it.” ~ Lena Horne
Learn how to be patient with your loved one and with yourself.
Caregivers…THANK YOU for what you’re doing.
Family Caregivers main focus is on giving and not getting.
It’s the nature of our job. Even at that, I think it’s only natural for us to sometimes feel taken for granted by family and the loved ones we’re sacrificing for and the personal care we’re providing for OUR parents.
Family members and friends can come by and mom will notice they look tired or they may be limping, anything and she always makes a caring comment to them. But when it comes to me…I can be in pain or depressed walking thru the house with tears streaming down my face and she never asks what’s wrong. NOTHING. Sometimes I can’t even stand up straight I’m in so much pain.
Just feeling like I’m invisible when mom doesn’t appear to see me, whether it’s true or not I don’t know. I have to admit I still can’t comprehend everything that happens all the time. Sitting in my room when family stops by, I’m in my room with tears rolling down my face….even they don’t ask what’s wrong. They talk to mom, say goodbye and holler out my name and goodbye and out the door they go. I hurt really bad but what do we do?
I don’t say this mean because it’s not only me that it happens to. I heard this from many other children caring for an aged parent when I facilitated the local Alzheimer’s support group for ‘Children Caring For Parents’.
Family members don’t or won’t always express appreciation for what we’re doing for our parents and we have to let it go and move on.
Even though we feel unappreciated the show must go on.
All in all we have to learn how to appreciate our self and know that we’re doing a good thing and why we’re doing it. I’m sorry to say there’s no magic pill. BREATHE and JUST DO IT!
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