Whether you’re a family caregiver, a professional HHA or CNA in-home caregiver, or Healthcare professional, you are exposed to the environmental pressures that can trigger problematic stress responses.
Stress is a normal part of life, when it is managed properly. The mind and body react to challenges in life that enable us to perform our best and meet the challenges that healthcare brings us. But it is our mental reactions to those challenges that can either help us to be resilient and cope effectively with problems, or can cause us to feel unnecessary pain, and act out in self-defeating behaviors.
Caregiving can quickly become overwhelming. For instance, take the case of a family caregiver who has taken on the task of bringing her Alzheimer’s afflicted mother into her home. She already has a full time job, a husband, two kids in high school, a house to take care of, and responsibilities at her church; and now she is responsible for another person’s personal care, financial responsibilities, and health & well-being.
At Harmony Home Health-Roseville Home Care, we train our caregivers to transform worries into concern. Worry has no redeeming value whatsoever and focuses on things outside of us that we cannot control; whereas concern help us tackle problems and move forward through difficult situations. Below is a list of worried, self-defeating thoughts, beliefs, and interpretations our caregiver might think when caring for her demented mom:
1) I can’t stand this anymore!
2) I hate my mother, she is ruining my life.
3) I am so incompetent. Why can’t I handle this like_____?
4) I shouldn’t’ t feel this way
5) I am really a bad person for even thinking these things.
Being concerned about the situation with her mom, our caregiver could choose to notice her destructive thinking, write it out, and then re-write her own script in a healthier way. This would prepare to cope much more effectively the next time she faces those stress triggers with her mom. Here are some examples of more constructive, replacement thoughts, although she could probably come up with many more on her own:
1) Even though I don’t like what is happening now, I can stand it, and have been standing it for quite some time.
2) This situation is temporary, I’ll be able to rest in a few minutes and catch my thoughts.
3) This is just necessary for now, I have a break coming this weekend and I really do want my mom to be taken care of.
4) I don’t like the alternative of my mom receiving less care.
5) Perhaps I can look at bring in some professional help from an outside care agency?
6) These feelings don’t mean anything, I am a competent, loving, caring human being and I have my limits. I have to recognize those and take care of myself to be any good to others.
7) I can and do forgive myself for my mistakes, after all I am human. I will learn from those mistakes and move on.
8) Even though this is difficult, I appreciate having my mother close by.
9) I always have choices, no matter how daunting the situation.
If you find yourself in this situation, please consider giving us a call for a free Nursing assessment, care plan, and cost analysis. We can help you explore ways to make it affordable, and help you get the respite you need to provide the care you expect for your loved one.