Providing care and support for an aging loved one will inevitably have an impact on both of your lives, there is really no way around it. The general assumption is that a caregiver will have a positive influence on the life of the person they are providing care for, after all that is the whole purpose of the endeavor.
However, it is not often we consider or examine in too much detail the other side of the caregiving relationship. The ramifications being, how caregivers are personally impacted by the dedication of time, effort, and emotional support needed to provide effective home care for a loved one.
How are caregivers affected?
Many of the changes that do occur are often positive in nature. For instance, family caregivers tend to become more empathetic and compassionate after a period of caring for an elderly loved one.
On the other hand, negative effects may also come as a result of providing care for an individual with demanding needs. Some of these detrimental effects may include:
- Chronic stress
- Increased irritability
- Physical illness
- Sleep issues
- Weight fluctuation
- Chronic fatigue
Putting in too many hours as a family caregiver can seriously take away from the ability to manage your own life, including job, family, social connections, hobbies, and interests. It is all about finding and maintaining a healthy balance.
What effect does personality have on being a caregiver?
Different personality types will bring varying strengths and weaknesses to the caregiver role. Some personalities may find adopting an unselfish caregiver attitude more stressful and challenging than others.
Introvert vs Extrovert
Whether you are an extrovert or an introvert, or a fairly balanced mix of both, there are some advantages and disadvantages to both sides when it comes to caregiving.
Extroverts tend to be more social and find it easier to establish a quick rapport which is great for professional caregivers who may only provide intermittent care to an assortment of individuals. Extroverts also tend to have a thicker skin and may feel less stress in social situations and often have the ability to take minor conflicts less personally.
Introverts often have smaller social circles but tend to be more invested in every social relationship they maintain. This can be a tremendous benefit to the person they are providing care for. However, they also tend to be more reticent which may result in getting stuck in an undesirable situation to avoid confrontation.
Let’s take a look at two of the most basic personality types to explore the positives and negatives of each in relation to caregiving.
The Leader Personality – Type A
A natural Type A personality can be both beneficial and detrimental to a caregiver situation. On one hand, a type A personality will likely be energized, motivated, and well organized, establishing a structured routine that will be closely monitored and followed.
On the other hand, a type A person may feel powerless and frustrated when a situation arises that they have no control over. Since being a caregiver is all about the care recipient, there will be many instances where the caregiver has no authority over the direction of care needed.
Type A personalities may benefit from a few suggestions that may help remove some stress from the situation:
- Recognize limitations
- Ease up on authoritarian control
- Be mindful of the nature of the care relationship
- Stay calm in the face of adversity
- Don’t overdo it
- Keep communication lines open
The caregiver role can have a positive influence on type A personalities by forcing them to become more relaxed and easy-going by accepting things that they cannot change.
The Socializer Personality – Type B
More social personalities will bring natural benefits to a caregiving situation. For instance, good companionship and conversation will likely come easy. Type B personalities will also likely be more easy-going about decisions that will affect the individual being care for, putting their own interests aside.
One aspect of care that may suffer is organization and order. Being a caregiver can be a meticulous, tedious job at times and it takes an organized routine to be effective.
Type B personalities getting involved as caregivers may benefit from these tips:
- Develop a schedule or routine together with care recipient
- Create an organized system for medical and financial records
- Purge any excess clutter
- Organize activities and meals at regular times to establish a routine
- Make a plan and stick to it
A caregiver role can have a positive impact on a type B personality by helping them become more organized, and bringing more structure to their lives.
Whatever your personality type may be, providing care for a loved one will have some level of impact on your life. Whether that effect is negative or positive is all about what you put into it.