No matter how rewarding caregiving can be or how much we love the person we’re caring for, caregiving is frustrating.

Frustration just comes with the package. We’re human and caregiving inevitably involves situations and tasks that are inherently frustrating. So many of us feel guilty for losing our cool, but it happens to even the most patient caregiver, eventually.

Frustration is a daily challenge. My dad’s other 3 children make no attempt to even call him to say hello. So there’s no real break or support when my dad needs to visit the emergency room.

Because I am also my 22 year old autistic son, frustration can magnify greatly. My son struggles when he must wait for something he wants to do. Like visit a very big mall about 50 minutes from home. He also struggles a bit with sharing me with his grandpa.

Frustration, too, to eke out some time for just myself.

Frustration is and, probably be a big part of my life for the next while. – Mimi

Frustration comes up a lot when we talk about the struggles of caregiving. Dorothy, BobGiselle, HarrietJudith, and Roz all talk about the frustration that results from difficult people and challenging situations, day in and day out.

What’s your biggest caregiving frustration?

Constant interruptions

My husband had a stroke four and a half years ago. He uses a wheelchair and needs assistance with any transfers. Also, his judgement is not always the best when needing to pick something up from the floor. My biggest frustration is not being able to complete a task such as folding laundry or doing dishes without having to stop and help my husband. I love him so much and understand his frustration when needing to ask for help. If I don’t respond right away, he will try to do things that are not safe. – Debbie

I’m maintaining a writing career while caring for my disabled husband. Often when I’m writing, I have to stop what I’m working on and help him. This interrupts my thoughts, my word flow, and my productivity. Still, I’m determined to keep on writing, and created a series for family caregivers. – Harriet

Isolation

In the end, it’s the frustrating/bitter/sad realization that this is a path you walk alone, mostly behind closed doors. No one has the history you do. Honestly, I do not expect people to understand, even the relatives. Friends and family do the best they can, really, most of the time; but everyone, EVERYONE, has life’s curve balls to deal with. – Melissa

Not having any help and everyone second guessing everything you do. – Dennis

Lack of sleep

My biggest frustration is losing so much sleep. I never know when he will get up early in the morning and trigger the alarm. After I wake up from sleep I can’t get back to sleep knowing he is walking around needing me. – Gina

Navigating the system

The process to obtain Disability Benefits for my wife diagnosed with PSP was the most frustrating ordeal I have ever dealt with!! Every time I think about it now steam still comes out of my ears. – Paul

It’s okay to get frustrated

I don’t care what other people think. My closest friends know I love my husband. But I’m human. Actually, I’ve circled the wagons, and keep in touch with only the ones who get it. The rest? I’m polite, but I don’t really hear what they say. – Melissa

Frustration is a normal, even healthy, part of being a caregiver. How do we cope with it?

If you can, take a break. You probably can’t take the day off or even get an hour’s peace. You can hopefully step into another space for a minute to take a deep breath and clear your head.

Focus on problem solving. Is there something you can do to make a situation easier to deal with? Sometimes there isn’t. In that case, we need to learn to accept things the way they are.

Think about the big picture. If you’re frustrated with a person, be it a customer service rep or the person you’re caring for, imagine things from their perspective.

Remember it’s okay to be upset. Being frustrated doesn’t make you a bad caregiver or a bad person. It just makes you human.

Part of it requires cultivating your overall resilience. The more resilient we are, the easier we can rebalance after something throws us off.

You might also find Iris’ tips for dealing with anger or Michelle’s experience learning to forgive herself helpful.

Remember, caregiving isn’t for wimps. Take a minute to recognize how strong you are to have made it this far!

About Cori Carl

Profile photo of Cori CarlAs Director, Cori develops our comprehensive global communications and development strategy. She’s constantly tweaking our services based on data-driven marketing metrics and feedback from caregivers. She works to grow our community and build the reputation of The Caregiver Space by amplifying the message on social media, cultivating relationships with experts, creating organizational partnerships, and earning media coverage. She’s an active member of the community and regularly creates resources for Caregivers.

Cori joined The Caregiver Space after a decade of serving as a communications consultant for a number of nonprofit organizations and corporations furthering sustainable energy and urban planning solutions.

Currently, Cori is finishing up her MA in Corporate Communications from Baruch College at CUNY, and has a BA in Media Studies from Eugene Lang College at the New School University. She divides her time between Flatbush, Brooklyn, and downtown Toronto.

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