Aggravate: Emotions of Caregiving

Emotions of Caregiving -An Adult Child of Senior Parents Shares Aggravation

From the “Well, that just beats all” department: The headline read “Baby pictures hanging at doctor’s office? Cute, sure, but illegal.”

The title served to AGGRAV-ATE me. (May I remind you of our blog’s -ATE word theme? We use verbs because we are in action).  I am a senior advocate in Raleigh, N.C.

I kept the article, vowing to read it again, and fully. I wanted to figure out why it aggravated me. When something irks me I have found it is really inviting me to take a closer look. Something is requiring “acknowledgment.” (See “knowledge” in there?) Read on.

The article, “Baby pictures hanging at doctor’s office? Cute, sure, but illegal,” informed me that those endearing pictures of newborns on bulletin boards were coming down from pediatricians’ walls across America. Why, you ask? Concerns over privacy said one doctor affiliated with Columbia University Medical Center. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, HIPAA, protects baby photos in the same way it does a medical chart, birth date, or Social Security number. Even if the parent sends in the photo, then a written authorization must occur to post it; something that almost never follows.

So now when you see a baby picture at the doctor’s office it is likely a model. For me that is another “don’t that beat all” realization in itself.  Does this aggravate you?

senior advocacy, raleigh-durham, N.C.If you are like me (and I know some of you are), then a Health Advocate’s thoughts go straight to two considerations. First, what about the pictures of seniors (and other patients) in medical offices? Making a mental check, the medical offices I had been in recently did appear to be pretty sterile (tongue in cheek, couldn’t resist), devoid of warmth and a more human, personal touch. I, for one, value pictures of:

  • my doctors
  • my patients
  • how-to’s
  • wellness and working towards it


Most in line with my personal mission being a senior advocate are the pictures of real people in action, doing ordinary, healthy, healing, and positive activities. Photos like that go a long way in my book toward normalizing this thing called aging.

The second and equally powerful thought delivered an opportunity to muse (a favorite pastime, it sort of redirects any passive-aggressive tendencies). If we find that seniors’ pictures are also protected as patients within a medical office, then I could conceivably capitalize on (monetize) this! Tell me, just where do I sign up to become a senior model? Could this conceivably provide a valuable stream of income for my golden years? I am relatively confident that given the right props I could fill any medical group’s photographic requirements. Why, with a little time and the right exposure (another pun, did you get it?) I could become the Poster Child of Aging, depicting what normal aging might look like. I ruminated (for remuneration!) to the extreme for just a few minutes. It’s another twist within the burgeoning senior industry.

Back to reality and back to facing aggravation. Our own aggravation may be an outright, in-your-face absolutely discomfort-producing event, or a little hint-feeling signaling that perhaps some time should be spent on this item. Within the latter lies my work, health advocacy. Here is but one example.

Why do I oftentimes feel odd after performing some caregiving tasks that I am perfectly willing to do? Freely chosen, freely given and in keeping with my values I often feel odd and I do not address it (or it seems there is just no time). Why do I so wish to change the scene, eat, turn up the tunes on the car radio to 10, call a friend, write a rant, go shopping, surf the internet? Am I aggravated? By what, exactly? What does my reaction do for (or what has it done to) me?

So I am picking up on something here. Does it require attention? Action? Solution? What best serves me or the situation? This is…well, it’s opportunity.

Talking. Writing. Provoking thought. Having some fun in my head. Preparing this or any blog post helps me take a look at the events of life. Being a little silly with it (OK, taking it up exponentially) helps me to take some aggravation off the table, choosing my battles if you will, and to have my way with it. Control of the matter then, too. My terms.

I believe I will be OK when Aggrav-ated if it helps me identify, discern and discard. Now I can begin to ponder how best to harness situations that Aggrav-ate me as a health advocate, on the job, in my personal life. Emotions encountered during caring for seniors will be ever-present. I will have many chances to encounter them, gain control, and have some fun. Hooray!

Caregiving and aggravation are often present at the same time but do not have to go hand in hand nor always be negative. A Professional Advocate will help your family navigate the changes that come with aging and sort through the emotions of caregiving as you care for the seniors you love. CONNECT WITH US  now to schedule a free consultation and learn how our services can benefit you.

Image Source: BigStock

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