Being a long-term caregiver for someone in your family is bound to change you and make a huge impact on your life. Most of the times, the changes that occur in your personality will be positive and beneficial. Caregivers tend to become more compassionate and caring people, and feel more empathetic to others who are going through health issues. However, caregivers may also experience negative personality changes as well. After working as a caregiver for many months to many years, you may experience the negative consequences of caregiver burnout. Stress, exhaustion and anxiety from caregiver burnout can all impact your personality negatively and put a strain on the other relationships in your life. If you are thinking about becoming a caregiver, then keep reading to learn about all of the personality changes and impacts that you may go through in the next few months to years.
Take Charge Personality
For people who are instinctively leaders, and want to control and take charge of every situation, becoming a caregiver may either turn them into a frustrated person or completely mellow out their personalities. It is easy for these people to fall into either of these personality changes due to their already take charge personality traits. In one instance, people who are overly controlling may experience negative personality consequences because they will be unable to control every situation that they and their loved one must face. These people may become frustrated easily, stressed out, and begin to hate their job. However, on the other end of the spectrum, people who are control freaks may even learn to mellow out and let things happen. Once they realize that they cannot control everything that occurs in their lives and in their loved one’s lives, they may mellow out and step back. In turn, they may experience positive personality changes.
If you have a take charge personality and are starting a new caregiving job soon, then you need to understand your limitations and your personality before you enter the job. By fully understanding yourself and your personality, you can avoid any negative personality changes and learn to enjoy your job. It is helpful to remember that you cannot slip into an overtly parentally role with your elderly loved one. Do not think of your elderly loved ones as your children, and do not treat them as though you are their parents. Instead, constantly remind yourself of the relationships between you and your elderly loved ones. This will allow you to stay in the mindset of caregiving and keep your job separate from your relationship with your elderly loved ones. Doing so will allow you to continue to respect your elderly loved one through their illness. You must continue to respect your elderly loved ones through their illness; otherwise it will be easy to slip into the parental role with them. Also, remember to stay calm. You will not always be able to control everything in their life, and if you try, then they may resist. Stay calm and think of what your loved one would want for themselves as they grow older.
If you have a laid back, disorganized personality, then caregiving may make you become a more organized person. Whether this is a positive or a negative change in your personality will totally depend on you. Being a caregiver is a difficult, tedious job that often involves a lot of organization. Caregivers may have to suddenly take care of their loved one’s entire life, including their medical history, their appointments and their finances. If you are not organized at all, then you may struggle with your job as a caregiver, but with a little bit of organization, you can be great at your job and have a lot less stress in your life.
If you are not organized and do not know where to start, then you may want to implement a folder organization system. Start a folder for each aspect of your loved one’s life. Financial folders, medical folders, and household folders are a few of the folders that you may need to create. Then, place all of the appropriate documents in each of these folders and go through them often in order to purge old documents and ensure you are aware of new documents. This system should help you get into a rhythm and keep your loved one’s life in order.
Are you a timid person? If so, then caregiving may make you a more assertive and forceful person. Caregiving is a difficult job that may require you to be assertive with a lot of different people. The most important person that you must learn to be more assertive with is the person whom you are caring for. Telling your ailing parent that they must take their medications, use the restroom, or go to the doctor can be a challenge, but if you are assertive, then you may be able to complete this task easier.
Knowing that your loved one needs a certain routine in order to get better may allow you to become more assertive. If you understand that your loved one needs to follow a certain routine each day, then you will not want to deter from that routine that often. Knowing that your loved one is depending on you to be their advocate in the outside world, will give you the motivation you need in order to become more assertive. You will have to learn to cope with medical experts, social workers and financial officers that you may never have had to deal with in your own life. By talking to all of these people, you can learn to be less timid and more assertive.
Caregiving is a difficult, yet rewarding job that allows you to care for someone you love and help them through an illness. The job may require long hours, and be incredibly stressful at times, but it can also be very rewarding. If you are going to start a job as a caregiver, then you may want to be aware of certain personality changes that may occur through your job. These changes may be positive or negative, but they will impact your life. Embrace your newfound personality changes, and they may help you become a better caregiver.
Check the following articles on becoming a caregiver in our home care blog:
- Becoming a Caregiver for a Senior: What to Expect as a Family Caregiver
- Ways to Be a True Friend to a Family Caregiver
- Common Signs Indicating That Being a Caregiver is Not Right for You
- Tips for New Family Caregivers
- Balancing Elder Care with Other Relationships in Your Life