Grief in all of its forms is really difficult to cope with and to manage, but the most difficult form might be anticipatory grief. With this form of grief, your senior hasn’t passed away yet, so caregiving is still ongoing. Your elderly family member may be in ill health or she may be in a slow decline, but you can still see what’s headed her way.
Every Day You’re Facing the Inevitable.
You know what’s coming because you’ve been there for your aging adult this whole time. But the problem rests in the fact that you’re not able to change anything for her or do much beyond help her to stay as comfortable as possible. You’re still feeling the suspense of waiting for something to happen, though, and that’s really difficult to manage on a long-term basis.
It’s Inevitable, but You Don’t Know What Exactly Will Happen.
Even though you’re facing an inevitable conclusion, that doesn’t mean that you have a definite end result in front of you. Your senior could have several different health issues that could go multiple ways. When you do the math on all of those possibilities, you’re likely on edge because you’re never sure exactly which horrible situation is going to be the one.
When you’re anticipating all that could go wrong for your senior in the near future, you’re likely putting a lot of your own life on hold. If there are unresolved issues between you, that complicates things even further. The longer that the situation goes on, the more complicated these feelings can become. Other emotions can get tangled up with the grief, too, like guilt, anger, and frustration. Those emotions can make you feel as if you aren’t responding properly, even though they’re normal emotions to have.
You Can Project Anticipatory Grief on Other Situations.
Just because you’re experiencing anticipatory grief while being your senior’s caregiver, that doesn’t mean that’s the only situation in which you’re going to experience these feelings. It’s extremely easy, especially with emotions as complex as grief, for those to take over other situations in your life.
If you’re experiencing anticipatory grief already, you need to work out ways to help yourself manage it effectively. Hiring elderly care providers to help you with as much as possible can free you up to deal with the emotional side of things. You might even want to take time to join a support group or to talk with a therapist.