Seniors and the elderly, particularly those being cared for by others often resent the person caring for them, the family surrounding the caregiver and themselves. Guilt, defined as “the fact of having committed a specific or implied offense or crime” is linked to resentment along with self-deprivation. When an adult can no longer make decisions on their own about simple things like what to eat, what to wear and when to go to bed and get up, their very existence can become questionable. Patient’s requesting physician assisted suicide or euthanasia are typically well-educated and in palliative or hospice care – no pain is not a primary motivation; guilt self-deprivation and resentment are. Imagine not being able to use the wealth of knowledge you’ve achieved over the past 40-60 years. Imagine not being able to remain in your home, having the children whose diapers you changed changing your diapers, making eye-contact with a grandchild whom you fed as an infant, spoon feeding you because you can’t feed yourself. Wikipedia defines resentment as: “A mixture of disappointment, anger and fear - it compromises emotions of disgust, sadness and the perception of injustice.” Do you or your patient ever wonder, “How can I possibly go on like this...” Resentment stresses the mind and body and has been reported to be one of the most destructive emotions.
Anger and hatred can generate resentment, just as resentment can trigger anger and hatred. It is imperative caregivers understand their patient’s resentment – towards the caregiver, towards themselves and in recalling things they have said or done to others. All are equally unbalancing. Patient’s fail to achieve justice through self-denial when they awaken each day to the same physical, mental and emotional
The key word here – for the caregiver and the patient is “patient”. Most seniors and elderly being cared for by a family member [in their home] don’t want to be looked upon as a patient. Patient is roughly defined as, “A person receiving or expected to receive medical care.” Does this definition describe the loved one you are caring for in your home, or the parent or grandparent aging in place? Most caregivers will say no, however when pressed, the response becomes yes. Caregivers render medical care, and a family member rendering medical care to another family member [older or younger] can trigger resentment on the part of the patient – and in some cases on the part of the caregiver. When both the patient and the caregiver are experiencing resentment, an unsafe, hostile environment can be created.
Resentment can cause mental and physical pain. Violence, drug abuse, alcoholism and behavior disorders. A recent survey found more than 30% of caregivers reported some or increased alcohol use since becoming caregivers. “Many in the medical community report recovery, respite, therapy and recuperative care can be impacted by resentment.” The US Library of Medicine / National Institute of Health reports: “Caregivers who experience social and emotional burden related to caregiving are at risk for problematic alcohol use and warrant attention from health and mental health service professionals.” Family or group resentment can be more than harmful, it can lead to dangerous and/or harmful interactions.
Resentment encompasses anger, stems hatred, lowers self-worth and diminishes self-esteem. It affects all areas of a caregiver’s life – and the life of the patient. Professional mental health therapy and/or counseling is strongly suggested for both the patient, the caregiver and any extended family. A mental health professional can help both patient and caregiver identify what is causing the resentment and provide the tools needed to live within the realm of the new identity they are now facing.
Home Helpers Home Care is here to help. Knowing when to reach out for help, giving yourself [caregiver] and the patient a break is highly suggested. We provide 24/7 round the clock care and offer hourly, daily, weekly and long-term rates. You are not alone, let us help. Call me.