Caregiver Sanity

8 Sanity-Saving Outlets for Caregiver Anger
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Have you lost your temper recently? Must mean . . . you're human. A caregiver's occasional short fuse is perfectly natural. The combination of stress, sleep deprivation, and having to continually find a "new normal" for coping with the effects of dementia can leave family members on edge. Some days, one small mishap -- or look, or word -- can put you over the edge.

Consider lost temper to be a nudge to try to get more rest or help, then let it go. Nobody coping with dementia care is above "losing it" sometimes, even if the anger is directed toward the person with the disease.

Try these eight ways to channel your anger:

1. Designate a safe place where you can scream or punch. The privacy of your car? Your bathroom? Back porch? Pick a place you can go to let go.

2. Join a support group. Venting is a huge part of these groups' appeal for many caregivers.

3. Keep a journal. Say on paper what you dare not say aloud to your loved one. Or write thoughts on loose sheets of paper -- and then burn them.

4. Confide in a clergyperson, therapist, or other adviser. Schedule regular appointments; it can help to know you can "save up" your feelings to let them out at a designated time.

5. Call a friend who "gets" it. Running out of those? Connect with other caregivers online. Bonus: Someone's there 24/7.

6. Exercise. Take a walk, lift hand weights, follow an exercise video, do jumping jacks, or climb stairs. Exercise is excellent physical release for anger.

7. Listen to your favorite music, loud. Tune out everything else for a few minutes or hours.

8. Decide to set limits. Think about which things you're going to take or let pass, and which things are nonnegotiables. You do deserve to set boundaries, and reminding yourself of this can be calming.


about 2 years ago, said...

just wanted to add what isworking for me to get my sister to do things like taking a shower -i tell her what is going to happen -like :in thirty mins im going to help you get in the shower then in 15 mins i let her know again -or i will say after this show it is time for your shower or what ever -after i do this it will be time to go to the drs ect i use to use this on my childern and had no melt downs -i fine it works with dementia /alzheimers also ---


about 2 years ago, said...

I take care of my 72 yr old sister and her partner of 20 yrs 71 both with dementia/alzheimers -being that im younger 68 i was having comflits with my sister things like you not my momma or stop treating me like a child -and because her man being black he thinks all white are out to cheat him -any way they both have gotten violent with me they are both on mood meds which has helpped a lot -i have had their care for a year and half and learning how to deal -all of these suggestion are very helpful -thanks for the article--thanks --


over 2 years ago, said...

Much needed


almost 3 years ago, said...

How about when the dementia afflicted person gets angry and throws a fit such as throwing a box resulting in a broken window and throwing kitchen chairs around? Sometimes I fear for my own safety. He is supposedly in a mild to moderate stage but his temper has become worse in the past year. Talking to him after he calmed down, he admits to having a lot of frustration and that his comprehension level when he reads has waned in the past 6 months. Does this mean that he is experiencing another rapid decline?


about 3 years ago, said...

Have you ever heard the expression, Family...you can't live with or without them".I feel verbally battered by some of my family and feel that I do not really deserve the tonque lashings.If only we could look into the future and see what is ahead.Maybe we would be much more respectful to one another,perhaps it would be more dysfunctional family conversation.If we could all agree to disagree that would help too.


about 3 years ago, said...

Surprisingly, it also helps when I remind myself that the tangible source of my upset is the chemical/hormonal stuff going on in my body. Life is hard sometimes and the body sure lets me know. But the responses described truly do help the body order out some helpfully different chemicals/hormones. A main activity, for me, is walking or riding my bike outside. Maybe just around the block. Someday, a researcher will document the measurable activity that goes on inside when do the things that make us feel better. Meanwhile, I just do them. I focus on the design of tree branches against the sky, on cloud formations, on how my neighbors have designed their yards. Other walkers or bicyclists exchange smiles and waves as we pass. It all reminds me that the worrisome feelings I started with are the measure of a moment of anguish, fear of the future, when will this hard time ever end?, but those thoughts will recede as I change my focus. I will again be able to say to myself, "How am I going to handle this?" and begin to problem solve, very consciously thinking about the people resources I might seek, as well as tasks I might do.


about 3 years ago, said...

Chronic insomnia is tough to deal with and especially if one is not medically trained, I would imagine.I have a great doctor,but there is help out there through online pharmacies that will allow prescription sleep aid purchases.Be careful with Lunesta...long time use will give one night walking.Ambien seems the best with no side effects.I would try over the counter sleep aides first,but Quite franly, I have tried them all.There is a new gummy Melatonin out there now that one can take during the day.Milk has an amino acid that helps slle,but for those of us with over active bladders,that just keeps us waking up often to use the restroom.Any other suggestions?


about 3 years ago, said...

I deal with an ex-husband of 24 years whom is a ne'dowell.I do appreciate what manly skills and knowledge that he knows and has done for me but it is hardly worth the effort to even have him around;but unfortunately,he can not fend for himself yet there seems little to nothing more I can do for him but some financial assistance. I resent that his disability payments have not come in yet and his filthy rich father does not allow him a bank manager trustee to handle his affairs.I am tired of being around this kind of person and wish that he would go away for good.


about 3 years ago, said...

Not only for care-givers or other people with the responsibility of others on their shoulders, but to each & everybody: steam in boiler? Let it go before it blows your top off! How? As you suggest: Do something, concentrate on that something & get it off your mind that way. If you can't, don't give up: press on, effort will see something other than yourself give up Faith has an extraordinary role to play, deepen yourself in that aura too!


about 3 years ago, said...

Good ideas. I would add to them: 1) immediate deep breathing exercises (as per Dr. Weil); 2) routine cardiovascular exercise even "walking in place" if you can't get away; and 3) positive imagery. During intense moments, imagine yourself on a quiet beach, near a waterfall, etc, or in a scene that you enjoy--dancing, holding a baby puppy, etc. I also ask God (you can pray to the deity in your religion) for peace and strength, and try to let it go.


about 3 years ago, said...

How timely - this info is exactly what I needed - have been doing #3 and#6-setting limit #8 -never even thought that was possible - I'll give it a go. Think I will print this list -post it so that I can refer to it often . THANKS!


about 3 years ago, said...

I got this article from an old friend. I think I am doing everything except #'s 3 and 4. My support group that I belong to a Y definitely helps. I have set a limit on my patience. My husband has gotten into late, late stages of vascular dementia and I can go longer take visiting him. His children put him in a secure unit at an assisted living home in Michigan and I am in New York. Needless to say this requires a lot of travel and I have gotten high blood pressure from all the stress of the traveling and going through all this stress of the last few years. No one can know what it is like until they walk in your shoes. I am at the point that I pray for it all to be over soon; as there is no cure. It's a nightmare.


over 3 years ago, said...

Well at least you all have resources. Happy for you. I have nothing. I'm isolated, have no financial ability to pay for help. Am supporting Altzheimer king & 15 year old daughter. Totally exhausted. Next time your stressed just remember you could have my life. It truly sucks


over 3 years ago, said...

It's good to see this all in printed form and realize there are some things I'm doing right. I want to share the following in case in might help someone. I have trouble coping when my mom says what isn't true about me. Her need to be right overshadows everything and I'm finally realizing everything I say to answer questions or try to be helpful is interpreted as a put-down because she doesn't already have the answers and can't be "right." Tough!