Most informal caregivers are special people who dedicate themselves to taking care of aging loved ones. But caregiving can also be an emotional rollercoaster filled with highs and lows depending on the day. Feeling grief and overwhelm as a caregiver is common both before and after the loss of a loved one. While the care recipient is still alive those negative emotions may cause indecisiveness and caregiver fatigue. After they pass-away grief can persist for months or even longer. Thankfully, managing caregiver grief and overwhelm is possible by following these tips. 

Types of Caregiver Grief

Grief is a complex human emotion that can interfere with one’s daily activities. When caught up in the throes of grief, completing even simple tasks may seem impossible and futile.

Mental health experts have identified these different types of caregiver grief:

  • Ambiguous grief. This occurs while your loved one is still alive but they aren’t consistently present in the same way that they used to be. For example, when caring for someone with dementia it’s common for them to fade in and out of their old self. 
  • Renewed grief. As that once-familiar person comes and goes you may find yourself experiencing periods of renewed grief. 
  • Anticipatory grief. This form of grief helps you process a loved one’s death before it happens, for example when they are in the end stages of cancer. Holidays tend to bring anticipatory grief and depression to the surface as you sense that your loved one won’t be there next year. 
  • Grief after your loved o