Family care providers give a tremendous amount of themselves to take care of their loved ones, often giving up their own wants and needs in the process. It may seem normal, then, to assume that caregivers would feel good about themselves, with high self-esteem and sense of purpose.
Nevertheless, the exact opposite can be more accurate. Caregiver guilt is prevalent and many family caregivers wish they could have more patience, an answer for all of their loved one’s problems, or the capability to take care of everything independently without needing help. They may not be able to relieve caregiver guilt because they have set unachievable and impractical goals, which can result in:
- Feeling stuck
- Not feeling good enough
- The desire to get away
- Lack of joy in life
- Increased stress
- Missing out on good quality time with a senior loved one
- And much more
If you are looking to relieve caregiver guilt, taking these steps can be extremely freeing:
- Acknowledge your feelings of guilt and also the particular reason causing it; for instance, “I am feeling guilty because I was impatient with Dad’s repetitive questions.”
- Maintain a realistic perspective, understanding that all family caregivers are experiencing challenges. We all are human.
- Replace your internal “should have” dialogues with a far more positive slant: “It is challenging to answer the same questions repeatedly, and I am doing the absolute best that I am able to.”
- Change your focus to a positive outcome. Remind yourself of the joke you shared that made Dad laugh this afternoon or how much he enjoyed the lunch you prepared.
- Make sure to set aside routine time for calming, pleasurable, and gratifying activities: engaging in favorite pastimes and hobbies, journaling, spending time with friends, family, and pets, etc.
- Adhere to a healthier lifestyle that includes nutritious foods, aiming for 7 – 8 hours of sleep every night, working out, stopping smoking, and limiting alcohol consumption.
- Find a support partner. To be the best family caregiver you can be means ongoing, routine breaks from care to take care of your own needs.
Get in touch with Heaven at Home Senior Care at (940) 380-0500 for customized home care in University Park and the surrounding communities that allows family caregivers time to relax and unwind, an essential aspect of effective elder care. We’re available based on your desired schedule and routine, with as much or as little ongoing support as needed, up through and including 24/7 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!