Caregiving for one’s spouse or parent demands giving when there are few reciprocal gifts. Disappointments and/or grudges from the past may resurface when we do not expect them. Why must you be so demanding? Why can’t you carry your own weight? It isn’t fair that you ask me to carry your burdens as well as what has normally been my own.
I’m your child and I don’t want to become your parent. I can’t handle seeing you diminished.
Irritation may cause the caregiver to walk away or respond with anger:
Explaining the schedule every few minutes;
Picking up the responsibilities from a spouse or parent who used to be independent and self supporting;
Dealing with their anger over bodily functions and bath time;
Frustration over their inability to complete simple instructions;
Frustration when they hide medication, bills, reminder post it notes.
There is awareness in the fog of dementia and the patient recognizes anger and abandonment. It is the caregiver’s responsibility to accept the inability to “fix” the dementia before retaliating. There is no shame in seeking support to handle our negative emotions before our frustrations push us over the edge.
Several of our residents have bemoaned that they never thought “this” would happen to them. “I feel like someone took the wheels off my Model T.”
The caregiver experiences similar feelings, and it’s okay.