Taking care of a disabled or aging loved one can take a toll on your emotional health. However, certain personality traits appear to decrease caregivers’ risk for health problems, reports a new Cornell study.
There’s no getting around it; long-term caregiving is bound to influence your thought patterns and how you see yourself as a person.
Some people worry that their personality changes are principally negative. Precisely, exhaustion, stress, and overwhelming responsibilities can take a challenging toll on one’s physical and emotional health. Caregiver burnout can sneak up on even the most level-headed and organized individual. However, if you can learn to cope with caregiver burden rather than letting it consume you, the risk of fostering lasting negative traits like depression, anxiety, and agitation is significantly reduced.
In fact, many proactive caregivers recognize that they’ve grown some rather beneficial characteristics owing to their caregiving experiences. How your personality might alter throughout this journey depends, obviously, on your openness to change, unique attitude, the feelings you have for the person being cared for, and the state of your own physical and emotional health.
The Take-Charge or Proactively Leading Personality
For people who unconsciously seek control in most circumstances, caregiving can either turn them into annoyed tyrants or benefit soften their personalities out.
Handling caregiving issues and not slipping into a “parental” or overbearing mode can be problematic for anyone. However, for persons with these super-efficient character traits, the challenge can be immense. Trial-and-error consumes precious time and energy, and so does repeating tedious tasks!
It’s valuable to remember that there’s perhaps no quicker way to drain the self-esteem of an aging or ill person than to boss them around or micromanage them. Consequently, it can be helpful to consciously repeat the mantra that your care beneficiary is a whole person.
Despite your love for your care recipient, altering your thought processes can be challenging. There are few rewards superior to taking time to respect the standing of this person’s life and keep this history in mind during the exhausting, long hours of caregiving. Succeeding in this may ultimately dull the harsher edges of your strong personality, leaving you efficient and smart, yet making you a more flexible and thoughtful friend, team player, mate, and employee. It will also benefit you in picking your battles when it comes to how precise tasks are handled and who can partake. Imperfection won’t end the world – not today, not tomorrow.
The Disorganized ‘Clutter-on-the-Brain’ Personality
If you define your personality as easygoing and find yourself to be somewhat lax about the organization, caregiving is expected to force you to tweak your natural contingencies in a hurry. There is an element of unpredictability in the nature of senior care which implies caregivers to achieve a balance of preparedness and flexibility. You may be able to take an impromptu approach to deal with your own finances, health care, and everyday commitments, but supplementing another person’s care to the mix without making some sort of system leads a road straight to trouble.
Learning the fundamentals of at least minimal organization will safeguard you can swiftly locate a complete medication list for your spouse or parent in the event of an emergency, have their utilities paid on time, track all their appointment schedules, etc.
Don’t worry. A bit more time management and organization won’t topple your laid-back appealing, personality. Graduating from clutter and disorganization can prevent pointless stress and actually help you better preserve your easy-going attitude. Minor changes here and there will perhaps make your whole life run quite smoother while caregiving and after your responsibilities end. In fact, numerous formerly disorganized caregivers have appreciated the significance of anticipating future events and formed a system for their own records to ensure their family members can feasibly access and use vital documents in the event of a medical emergency or upon their passing.
The Timid or Introvert Personality
Someone who is characteristically shy or non-confrontational will perhaps have to learn to be more assertive for successful caregiving.
Reminding your parent for the bathroom time or take their medication, particularly if they tend to reply negatively, can be rough for a person with a timid behavior. It can also be problematic to spearhead a spouse’s care if they’ve constantly been the more dominant figure in the relationship.
Learning to discover your voice and advocate for a loved one is a frightening concept, predominantly because their well-being rest entirely on you. Rather than feeling overwhelmed by the gravity of this charge, try to reimagine how you think of it. Draw motivation, strength, and courage from the fact that your care recipient requires your help. Not only will this allow you to better maintain their care, but it will also enable you to be more emphatic with them, social workers, medical professionals, and other members of their care team.
Don’t be a dwindling violet. You are up to the task – trust us on this one! Practice makes perfect, so take baby steps with individuals who you feel most comfy with.