Finding Freedom From Family Caregiver Guilt

Family care providers give a tremendous amount of themselves to take care of their loved ones, often leaving behind their own desires and needs along the way. It may seem normal, then, to presume that caregivers would feel very good about themselves, with high self-esteem and sense of purpose.

However, the exact opposite can be true. Caregiver guilt is common and many family caregivers wish they could have more patience, an answer for all of their older loved one’s problems, or the ability to take care of everything by themselves without needing help. They may have set unattainable and unrealistic goals, which can contribute to:

  • Bitterness
  • Feeling stuck
  • Never feeling good enough
  • The desire to get away
  • Lack of happiness in life
  • Elevated stress
  • Missing out on good quality time with a senior loved one
  • And much more

If you are experiencing feelings of family caregiver guilt, taking these actions can be extremely freeing:

  1. Admit your feelings of guilt along with what is causing it; for instance, “I feel guilty because I became impatient with Mom’s repeated questions.”
  2. Keep a realistic attitude, understanding that all family caregivers are struggling with challenges. We are all human.
  3. Substitute your internal “should have” statements with a far more encouraging slant: It is challenging to answer the same questions repeatedly, and I am doing the absolute best that I am able to.”
  4. Shift your focus to a positive outcome. Remind yourself of the joke you shared that made Dad laugh this morning, or how much they loved the breakfast you prepared.
  5. Make sure to put aside routine time for relaxing, enjoyable, and gratifying activities: engaging in favorite hobbies and interests, journaling, socializing with friends, family, and pets, etc.
  6. Stick to a healthier lifestyle that includes nutritious meals, striving for 7 – 8 hours of sleep nightly, exercising, giving up smoking and limiting alcohol consumption.
  7. Find a support partner. To be the best family caregiver you can be means regular, scheduled breaks from care to take care of your own needs.

Contact Heaven at Home Senior Care online or call us at 940-380-0500 in Denton or 972-245-1515 in Dallas for personalized senior care in Plano, University Park, Argyle, and throughout North Central Texas that allows family caregivers time to de-stress and unwind, an integral aspect of effective senior care. We’re available according to your required schedule and routine, with as much or as little ongoing support as needed, up through and including 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 right here to help!