Healthy emotions

Taking care of a loved one who needs long-term treatment can be a lot on one person’s shoulders. This may expose you to many different emotions.

What feelings are the most frequent?

Carer Person looked after
  • irritation
  • anger
  • helplessness
  • doubt in treatment / rehabilitation success
  • depressive states
  • headaches
  • muscle pains
  • fatigue
  • wish of isolation from the world
  • depressed mood
  • impatience
  • aggression
  • interpersonal problems
  • sexual disorders
  • fear
  • anger
  • helplessness
  • loneliness
  • lack of understanding
  • hopelessness
  • doubt in treatment / rehabilitation success
  • loss of motivation
  • aggression
  • humiliation
  • sense of injustice
  • irritation
  • impatience
  • wish of isolation from the world
  • sorrow

The person being looked after may focus on their own feelings, but the carer must look after their own emotions as well.

How to Maintain Healthy Emotions

Forget the stereotypes

Forget the stereotypes about disability, illnesses, or impairments. Approach the challenge in front of you with a fresh perspective. Getting rid of preconceived notions will help you make sound decisions based on your loved one’s needs. It will be easier for you to remain objective.

Overcome the Awkwardness

It might feel awkward to physically care for a body that isn’t your own. Help your loved one overcome any feelings of shame they might have. It is a difficult and delicate subject: regardless of whether you aid in hygiene or your loved one is completely dependent on you, keep in mind how difficult it is to show your body to other people. Be gentle with what you say and do.

Be Empathetic

Be empathetic – imagine how the person you look after feels and try to understand. How would you feel in such circumstances? Reflect on how to create positive feelings about this situation. Observe and listen to the person you are looking after. Every person requires a different approach. Try to provide your loved one with their exact needs.

Be Ready to Experience Mood Swings

Be ready to experience mood swings. This concerns both you and your loved one. Realize that you have the right to experience various emotions. Use the positive feelings you experience to bond, build mutual trust, and motivate each other. Find safe ways to manage negative emotions. For example, a sense of humor and jokes are an excellent way to maintain a positive approach and help ease tensions. There are many other ways to channel negative emotions. Find what works best for you.

Never exploit the advantage you have over the person you look after

Never exploit the advantage you have over the person you look after. Remember that it is already embarrassing or uncomfortable for them to be dependent on someone else. Use your strength to your loved one’s advantage. Motivate and transmit positive energy.

Never use violence

Never use violence in any form, including both verbal and physical. Violence shows weakness. You are hurting yourself and your loved one when acting in such a way.

Be assertive

Be assertive –  respect the rights of your loved one but be respectful to yourself as well. Don’t do everything for them, especially if their condition allows them to perform everyday activities. See how much joy it brings them to be independent.

Remember that a gesture can be more meaningful than words

Remember that a gesture can be more meaningful than words. You can calm down or soothe your loved one with a touch, a compassionate look, or a smile. Moments like these can help to calm them down, bring comfort, and lift their spirits.

Follow some simple rules

Follow these simple rules to avoid negative reactions from your loved one:

A well-rested carer is an effective carer

A well-rested carer is an effective carer. You need to recharge your batteries and take a break from everyday worries once in a while. Organize your time and try to get at least a few hours to yourself to take care of your own needs. Don’t isolate yourself from society or give up on your social life.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you don’t have anyone close to help you, reach out. There might be organizations near you that could step in. Some of the organizations gather volunteers or professional caregivers that might be able to attend to your loved one for a couple hours. Don’t try to deal with everything on your own as it can easily become overwhelming.

Consult with a Therapist

You can consult a therapist if you need help with your emotions. Speaking with an unbiased professional can help you restore control over your emotions.

Look after your body

Look after your body. Looking after your loved one can take a serious toll. It is good to strengthen your body through exercise. Pay special attention to your back, especially if you have to move your loved one many times a day. Rest as often as possible using different relaxation techniques like music therapy or meditation.

Consider all the Pros and Cons

Consider all of the pros and cons when you have to make a decision about putting your loved one in a long-term care institution such as a care home or residence. Sometimes it is the best solution for all involved. Don’t blame yourself if you determine that you can no longer care for your loved one at home. Nevertheless, do try to make your loved one feel that they are not alone. Show support and visit as often as possible. 

Learn how to ensure the comfort of care.