With family caregivers giving so much of themselves to the aging loved ones for whom they provide care, it’s easy for them to forget to extend that same care to themselves. It might seem normal, then, to imagine that these selfless caregivers would feel proud about the care they provide and have a great sense of purpose.
Nevertheless, the opposite can be the reality. Caregiver guilt is prevalent, and many family caregivers wish they possessed more patience, the answer for all of their older loved one’s problems, or the ability to accomplish everything on their own without the necessity for help. They may have set unattainable and unrealistic goals, which can result in:
- Feeling stuck
- Wanting to get away
- Never feeling good enough
- Increased stress
- Lack of enjoyment in life
- Lacking good quality time with a senior loved one
- And more
If you are having a hard time learning how to relieve yourself of caregiver guilt, taking these steps can be extremely liberating:
- Maintain a realistic point of view, understanding that all family caregivers are experiencing challenges. We all are human.
- Acknowledge your feelings of guilt along with the specific reason causing it; as an example, “I feel guilty because I became impatient with Mom’s repeated questions.”
- Shift your focus to a positive result. Remind yourself of the joke you shared that made Mom chuckle this afternoon, or how much they enjoyed the breakfast you prepared.
- Substitute your internal “should have” dialogues with a more encouraging slant: It is challenging to answer the exact same questions over and over, and I am doing the best that I can.”
- Adhere to a healthier lifestyle which includes nutritious meals, aiming for 7 – 8 hours of sleep nightly, exercising, stopping smoking and limiting alcohol consumption.
- Be sure to put aside regular time for relaxing, enjoyable and gratifying activities: engaging in favorite hobbies and interests, journaling, socializing with friends, family and pets, etc.
- Find a support partner. To be the best family caregiver you can be requires regular, scheduled breaks from care to take care of your own needs.
If you need help to relieve yourself of caregiver guilt and the other stresses of being a family caregiver, contact Endeavor In Home Care online or at 480-498-2324 for top-rated Mesa senior home care and care in the surrounding areas that allows family caregivers time to relax and unwind, an integral aspect of effective senior care. We’re available according to your preferred schedule and routine, with as much or as little ongoing support as needed, up through and including 24/7 care. Remember that taking the best care of yourself enables you to provide the best care for the senior you love, and we are always on hand to help!