Chapter 2: As care needs increase
Responding to anger
I feel like I am walking on eggshells all the time, and I am careful with what I say.
One of the biggest challenges is not to take the anger personally. Below are some ideas to help. Click each for more information.
Acknowledging that the person you are caring for is angry and needs a safe place to vent is a good first step. This doesn’t mean that you can’t share your own feelings. Anger is normal and expected, and it’s better to talk about it than to avoid it. You might explain that you feel angry as well, but that you recognize you are both really angry at the situation, not at each other. You could let the person know that you are with them, not against them. You could also tell them you are ready to refocus the anger and face this challenge together.
It is important that healthcare providers are aware of angry behaviour and the difficulties you are encountering. Ask for advice and assistance. This might include a referral to emotional support services such as volunteer visitors, social work, spiritual care, a support group, or counselling. It is important to find someone to talk to and a safe place to share thoughts and feelings.
Make taking care of yourself a priority. Give yourself permission to take more breaks and share the caregiving load. Consider exploring whether homecare services are available to assist in caregiving and provide a respite for yourself.
Create visual images to symbolize the hurtful words. You might try imagining the words going over your head and not getting stuck in your heart. Or you could picture the words floating away on a cloud or rolling away on a conveyor belt.
What may help
It may be helpful to connect with others experiencing
If the person’s anger persists and you feel threatened or harmed in any way, seek help immediately. This might mean getting in touch with your healthcare provider, a local crisis line, or police.Helpful resources