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Want To Reduce Caregiver Anger? Learn How To Manage Fatigue, Fear, And Frustration.

Author : Elaine Sanchez

If you are providing care for an aging, chronically ill, or disabled loved one, it is almost guaranteed that you are also experiencing flashes of anger. As a caregiver, the number of situations and people with which you can become upset are practically limitless. It is not uncommon to be angry at the disease or the injury. You may be mad at your care receiver, the medical community, your insurance company, Medicare, Medicaid, siblings, children, friends, and co-workers.

It helps to know that anger is actually a predictable and normal response to circumstances over which we have little or no control. So as a caregiver, the question is not whether or you will experience anger, because unless you have just recently ascended, you will get mad. In addition to having to cope with difficult situations, most caregivers also have to struggle with The Three F's of Caregiving: Fatigue, Fear, and Frustration.

Caregivers can reach a point of physical, mental, and emotional tiredness that most people can't even begin to perceive. If you are experiencing exhaustion on any or all of these levels, it is important to find a way to get some rest and relief from your day-to-day responsibilities.

Strategies for dealing with fatigue:

Set aside some time for yourself each day to do something you enjoy. You may enjoy reading, going for a walk, or having a telephone conversation with a friend. Try to schedule this activity at the same time every day and let your care receiver know that this is your time and you do not want to be disturbed.

Get involved in a caregiver support group. Sharing your stories with other caregivers can provide a safe environment to express negative emotions. It can also help to know that you are not alone.

Seek respite care. If you do not have family or friends who can relieve you, there are people who will come into your home and stay with your loved one. There are also places where he/she can go for a few hours, or even for several days so you can get some rest. Some of these programs are free; some are based on income and your ability to pay.

Fear is like the boogie man in the closet or the monster under the bed. As a caregiver, you know the disease or the injury is there. What you don't know is how bad it's going to get, how long it's going to last, or how much it's going to cost. And you aren't at all sure that either one of you is strong enough to handle it.

Strategies for handling fear:

On a piece of paper list the things that frighten you the most. After you've completed the list, ask yourself: "What is the worst thing that could possibly happen?" Examine which fears are based on events that are inevitable and which feelings are based on situations that may never occur, and then make a decision: If you know that the worst thing that could happen will happen, and if there is nothing you can do to control the events or the outcome, take charge by deciding what you can do to get prepared. If you decide that the worst thing that could happen may not happen, you may want to lessen your emotional stress by choosing to release your fear and live in the moment.


Knowing that you have very little or no control over the recovery of an injury or the progression of an illness is extremely frustrating. It is likely that every new day will bring with it a series of challenges and complications that will frustrate and upset you.

Strategies for coping with frustration:

Take a break and get some physical exercise. Go for a walk, run, or bike ride. A quick trip to a gym or an exercise class can help blow off steam. If you can't get away for more than a few minutes, go outside and breathe in deeply. Feel the fresh air fill your lungs and expand your abdomen. Breathe in for 8 seconds. Hold your breath for a count of 8 seconds. Release it to the count of 8 seconds. Repeat several times. Deep breathing elevates the oxygen in your blood, releases stress, and can help lower your blood pressure. Call someone.

Expressing your frustration can help relieve pressure. If you cannot discuss your frustration with your care receiver, call a friend or a relative who will allow you to rant. Bottling up your emotions can lead to explosions and/or depression. (Again, caregiver support groups are a tremendous place to express emotions and seek support.)

The important thing is to understand that taking a break from the physical, mental, and emotional challenges of caregiving is not a selfish act. Getting the rest you need and participating in activities you enjoy will benefit both you and your care receiver. When you are refreshed, you will feel more loving and patient, and you will be better equipped to deal with the ongoing challenges and frustrations of caring for someone who can no longer care for him/herself.

Author's Resource Box

Caregiver speaker Elaine K. Sanchez is passionate about helping others cope with the emotional stress of caregiving. Her keynotes and workshops are based on her book, Letters from Madelyn, Chronicles of a Caregiver. To watch caregiver videos and learn more about coping with caregiver stress, visit her website at

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Tags:   caregiving, caregiver stress, caregiver anger, caring for the caregiver, caregiver speaker, caregiver videos, caregiver book, help for the caregiver, caregiver blog, help for the caregiver

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Submitted : 2010-11-30    Word Count : 1    Times Viewed: 176