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 Anger Management

This week we hosted the last Fearless Caregiver conference of the year. (What, it’s December already?) in Palm Beach county. It was the first event we have held in our neighboring county to the north, although we have held events in Fort Lauderdale since 1998. And if the response we received was any indication, “We’ll be back.”

So many issues of importance to caregivers were raised at the event that it could take up five columns, but I thought I would touch on one that is surprisingly not mentioned enough by event attendees – anger.

The issue of anger was brought up by one caregiver and it opened a floodgate of feelings and great advice from panel and audience alike. As one of our panelists, Laura Zel, Caregiver Counselor for the Area Agency on Aging of West Palm Beach and the Treasure Coast said “Of course you are angry, you’ve saved all your life and were expecting your retirement to be a lot different than it turned out to be when this disease came around…you got a raw deal. You need to accept and understand this and begin to channel your energy to make the best of it for you and your loved ones.”

Some of the caregivers had suggestions for how they deal with anger:

“I walk around the block when I feel that I am going to say or do something I will regret.”

“I will never hesitate to look into my husband’s eyes and say I’m sorry when I need to do so.”

“I have my best friend’s number on speed dial and punch it rather than the wall.”

“I try to find something to laugh about, preferably with my loved one.”

“I write down my feelings and it makes it easier for me to figure out what I am really angry about”

“There is something wrong if you don’t feel angry at sometime during your caregiving. It’s what you do about it that makes the difference.”

And my personal favorite answer, “Chocolate”, which in moderation and medically approved can be just what the doctor ordered.


Gary Barg

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