FREE TRAINING: How To Care For A Loved One With Dementia
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Dementia Caregiver Anger

caregiver stress Oct 28, 2018

Today I want to talk about a caregiver emotion that isn’t talked about often even though it happens often- caregiver anger.

Do you ever get angry at your loved one for not doing something correctly? What about when they make a big mess? Do you feel that they are doing something on purpose to make your life more difficult? If so, then this post is for you. If you prefer to watch a video on the topic, you can watch me talk about this here.

There are so many emotions involved when being a dementia caregiver. Some of those emotions can be good, but often the emotions are frustrating, depressing, lonesome, and in some cases just plan mad.


When you think of everything that is involved in caring for a loved one with dementia, it’s not surprising that anger is a common emotion. You sacrifice time in caring for your loved one. You sacrifice hobbies and friendships because there just doesn’t seem to be the time for you to do those things since all your waking time is caring for your loved one. You sacrifice your health because you put so much time and effort in your loved one that you start to neglect your own. The list goes on and on. After a while, these sacrifices add up and it can be easy to start to feel resentment or anger toward your loved one.

Anger can happen for any caregiver, but it really tends to happen when you are a newer caregiver, or when you’ve been at the caregiver thing for a while and are burned out.

In the beginning of the caregiving journey and it can be easy to forget, or not yet even fully believe, that your loved one has a disease of the brain that literally makes it difficult for them to do basic things they were able to do their entire. Things like use a phone, make a meal, get dressed, drive a car. In the early phases, especially that first year, it’s easy to forget your loved one has a problem at all. After All, there is no outward sign or reminder most of the time. For many people, the person with dementia, especially in the early stages looks just like they always did. In these situations, it’s easy for you to sometimes falls trap to the belief that your loved one is just fine and is purposefully trying to drive you crazy. This is a mistake. It fuels your anger, does nothing to help the situation, and in 99.9% of the cases is not not true.

A lot of times, it's easy to feel that your loved one is purposefully trying to drive you crazy if your relationship was strained before the dementia diagnosis. So whenever something happens that is frustrating or when your loved one does something that causes a big mess, it’s easy to assume they are doing it on purpose. Don’t. This will make you more angry.

I promise, your loved one is not purposefully trying to give you a hard time. They are having a hard time. Remind yourself of that. Even if you simply refuse to believe that your loved one is struggling, and you continue to insist that your loved one is purposefully doing things to make life more difficult for you, ask yourself how much that kind of thought process is helping you. I guarantee that thought process isn’t helping you at all. So stop it. If you watched last week’s video, then you know that your thoughts are literally one of the only things you have control over on this dementia caregiver journey. Are your thoughts helping you or hurting you?

If you you’ve been on your dementia caregiver journey for a while now, then chances are you are burned out. When you are burned out, stressed out, and not doing things to help your stress level then you are less likely to be able to handle those difficult dementia moments that are bound to happen.

That is why it’s important to get respite whenever possible, ask for help (not only ask for help, but tell people exactly how they can help). Most of the time people truly do want to help, but they don’t know what would be most helpful to you or what you need until you tell them. Consider a senior center or adult day health care to give you some hours back in your day. Reconsider whether placement is something you want to consider. Whatever you decide, you have to know that you cannot go on giving good care for your loved one with dementia without taking good care of yourself. Your health is just as important. When you neglect all your desires and needs, and put all your loved one’s needs first, then chances are higher that you will start to experience some anger.

One of the hardest things about being a caregiver is making decisions for your loved one that they don’t agree with that they don’t want you to make. That might be decisions about placement, adult day healthcare, another person coming in for help.

So remember, that your loved one isn’t trying to give you a hard time. They are having a hard time.

I can’t think of one person I know that would choose to get dementia. Your loved one didn’t choose to get this disease either. Keep that in mind during those difficult moments and make sure you are doing what you need to take care of you.


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