Family caregivers give a great deal of themselves to meet the needs of their loved ones, often leaving behind their own desires and needs in the process. It may seem normal, then, to believe that caregivers would feel great about themselves, with high self-esteem and sense of purpose.
Nonetheless, the exact opposite may be more accurate. Dealing with caregiver guilt is common and many family caregivers wish they had more patience, an answer for all of their older loved one’s problems, or the ability to take care of everything on their own without the necessity for help. They may have set unachievable and unrealistic goals, which can lead to:
- Feeling stuck
- Never feeling good enough
- Wanting to get away
- Lack of happiness in life
- Heightened stress
- Missing out on good quality time with a senior loved one
- And more
If you are struggling in dealing with caregiver guilt, taking these actions can be incredibly liberating:
- Acknowledge your feelings of guilt and also the specific reason behind it; as an example, “I feel guilty because I became impatient with Dad’s repetitive questions.”
- Keep a realistic viewpoint, knowing that all family caregivers are experiencing challenges. We are all human.
- Replace your internal “should have” dialogues with a far more positive slant: It is challenging to answer the exact same questions repeatedly, and I am doing the very best that I can.”
- Shift your focus to a positive outcome. Remind yourself of the joke you shared that made Mom laugh out loud this afternoon, or how much they loved the breakfast you prepared.
- Be sure to set aside sufficient time for soothing, pleasurable and rewarding activities: engaging in favorite pastimes and hobbies, journaling, socializing with friends, family and pets, etc.
- Follow a healthier lifestyle that includes nutritious meals, striving for 7 – 8 hours of sleep every night, exercising, quitting smoking and limiting alcohol consumption.
- Find a support partner. To be the best family caregiver you can requires ongoing, scheduled breaks from care to take care of yourself.
Contact Carolina Hearts Home Care at 1-855-277-2005 for personalized home health care in Lumberton, NC and the surrounding communities that allows family caregivers time to destress and unwind, an important aspect of effective elder care. We’re available according to your desired schedule and routine, with as much or as little care as needed, up through around-the-clock care. Keep in mind that taking the best care of yourself allows you to provide the best care for the senior you love, and we are always here to help!