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Caregivers Are Only Human


I just yell back - I never say things that cannot be taken back and I always apologize for losing my temper. I explain that I love him but I get frustrated when I am not sure what to do in a given situation. This has worked well for us for the past year without problems.
He yells in frustration too.

Thanks to all of you for your comments. I too am a caregiver for my mom and sometimes lose my temper. Its horrible. We have always had a good relationship. To see her like this is excruciating. Like the woman
who put on the headphones, I turn on the tv but my mother yells at me about that!! She lives in an assisted living facility and it is hectic and stressful there operations wise, then having her aging problems, we both want to explode. Lately, I decided to leave the room quicker when things are tense, and look at my waterfalls videos on my android for a calming and soothing quick recovery. Trying to get back to me.

In response to question 1, my mom is also consistently negative and repetitive and it does grate on me and I do yell (or rather raise my voice) because it just drains you of all your energy. When that happens, I tell myself I need to breathe (which I do - 10x in and out) and then sometimes I may just walk away for 5-10 minutes to gain my composure as well. That sometimes helps too. But most of the time when she is like this, I usually just agree with her and let her babble on about whatever it is that she needs to complain about (while having my earplugs with me so I can also listen to some music to soothe my mounting frustration - which also helps). She doesn't know what I am doing and then I just nod my head and she thinks I'm really listening (which is partially true) but I'm not. I know this sounds mean and maybe careless but trust me, I've been taking care of my mom now for 7 years and it doesn't get easier. Most days I cry a lot and I hate my life too but you've got to realize that 1) you are still a good daughter/son; 2) you cannot do everything all the time, and 3) this is not your mother talking but rather the disease - keep telling yourself these things and it might help. Hope this was helpful.

I certainly agree. I find my self yelling more and more lately, because some of the things my husband does are so ridiculous and frustrating. I recommend getting any help you can. My husband attends Day Care two days a week and I have a caregiver coming in another afternoon each week. I also have family and friends that will give me a couple of hours each week. If someone says "can I help", let them. Even a couple of hours gives you time to breath.

Thank you for this article, Rick. My mom passed a couple of weeks ago and I was her caregiver for 18 years. She had dementia and, especially in the last couple of years, I found myself snapping at her when I was stressed out. Needless to say, ever since her passing I have felt guilty for those times when I was short tempered and even shorter on patience. Your article reminded me that we as caregivers really have to be kind with ourselves and forgive ourselves when we find ourselves being human.


I have a friend that I described a frustrating situation to. She is still quite functional, but clearly dealing with short term memory loss. She is for instance capable of finding my phone number and dialing it. Which she did while I was escorting my father on an appt that went longer than anticipated. She has a hearing impairment and has trouble hearing on the phone in spite of amplification and most times refuses to use her hearing aids. The phone conversation was loud and served little purpose in spite of my assuring her my father was well and even putting him on the phone. Consequently, when he had another appt that did not even go that long and I could tell she was calling, I ignored the call. I felt a little cruel but knew it would not reassure her if she heard me because she thinks we are doing something behind her back at times...and we were going to be home shortly. I would only have blown up which isn't good for me either.