Coping With


  • Stay positive by actively seeking meaning in your struggles, not by trying to disguise or deny negative feelings.
  • Maintaining contact with other caregivers or supportive friends is a key way to keep emotions from becoming unmanageable.
  • Caregivers are extremely prone to depression. See a doctor if your feelings are interfering with your everyday life.

One of the strongest bonds shared by millions of caregivers is their need to deal with strong feelings of frustration, guilt, anger, and grief. Coping with these natural caregiving emotions doesn’t come automatically. Most learn that they must go out of their way to prevent negative feelings from becoming overwhelming.

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Difficult feelings tend to flourish when you’re isolated or keep your problems to yourself. Don’t wait until you feel strained to reach out for emotional support. Find a caregiving buddy or a caregiver’s support group, either online or in person. The more connected you feel to other people who are going through similar challenges, the less likely you are to become isolated, depleted, and depressed.

A positive attitude doesn’t mean covering difficult emotions with a smile. It means making a point to try to find the positive in any situation, and accepting the fact that this is sometimes difficult or even impossible. Start by developing positive meanings and motivation to your caregiving. These might include “giving back,” making your loved one’s life more comfortable, or providing care in keeping with your spiritual beliefs.

Accepting change is another key. Trying to fight change sets you up for an exhausting, frustrating battle you can’t win. It’s important to not choose what to get upset about, and what to accept as out of your control. Your ability to make these choices will become more intuitive with practice.

Keeping a journal helps many caregivers put their feelings in perspective. Therapy or counseling can be a smart investment. Growing numbers of counselors are well-versed in the challenges of caregiving. Many caregivers draw extraordinary strength from religious and spiritual groups.

Caregivers are much more prone to depression than the general population. Unlike ordinary sadness, major depression is a treatable mood disorder in which feelings of sadness, loss, anger, or frustration interfere with everyday life for an extended period of time. Left unchecked, it can leave you unable to care for your loved one or yourself.

In addition to feeling down or depressed, common symptoms of depression include loss of interest in activities you used to enjoy, lack of energy, poor appetite (or overeating), and trouble concentrating. See a doctor if any of these symptoms are affecting your everyday life.

Content shown was developed in collaboration between AGIS and National Family Caregivers Association.


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It’s filled with important and useful suggestions for family caregivers from a family caregiver herself.

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Caregiving Emotions & Stress
Stress and depression are common among caregivers. How do you cope?