Family caregivers give a tremendous amount of themselves to meet the needs of their loved ones, frequently giving up their own desires and needs along the way. It might seem normal, then, to assume that caregivers would feel very good about themselves, with high self-worth and a sense of purpose.
Nevertheless, the exact opposite can be the reality. Caregiver guilt is prevalent, and many family caregivers wish they had more patience, the answer for all of their older loved one’s problems, or the ability to take care of everything by themselves without requiring any help. They may have set unattainable and impractical goals, which can contribute to:
- Feeling trapped
- Never feeling good enough
- Wanting to get away
- Lack of joy in life
- Heightened stress
- Missing out on good quality time with a senior loved one
- And more
If you are struggling with feelings of family caregiver guilt, taking these steps can be extremely liberating:
- Admit your feelings of guilt and also the specific reason behind it; for instance, “I feel guilty because I was impatient with Dad’s repetitive questions.”
- Keep a realistic attitude, understanding that all family caregivers are dealing with challenges. We all are human.
- Exchange your internal “should have” statements with a more positive slant: “It is difficult to respond to the exact same questions over and over, and I am doing the best that I can.”
- Shift your focus to a positive outcome. Remind yourself of the joke you told that made Dad laugh out loud this morning, or how much they enjoyed the breakfast you prepared.
- Be sure to set aside regular time for comforting, pleasurable and gratifying activities: engaging in favorite pastimes and hobbies, writing in a journal, socializing with friends, family and pets, etc.
- Adhere to a healthier lifestyle which 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 regular, scheduled breaks from care to take care of yourself.
Reach out to Advanced Home Health Care, a trusted provider of in-home care in Burlington and surrounding communities, at 319.753.6270 for top-rated senior care that allows family caregivers time to relax and unwind, an important aspect of effective elder 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 around-the-clock care. Always remember that taking the best care of yourself helps you to provide the best care for the senior you love, and we are always right here to help!