As soon as you woke up this morning until the end of a tiring day, you’ve given your all to the older family member you care for. You provided assistance with showering and dressing, prepared nutritious meals, cleaned the house, all while making sure your senior loved one was happily involved in meaningful activities, made it to their 3:00 hair appointment, and picked up prescriptions and groceries afterwards. And even though you are not doing any of these things for a pat on the back, a simple “thank you” would be nice – but is rarely offered.
If you’re feeling under-appreciated or completely unappreciated altogether as a family caregiver, you are not alone. This is definitely a frequent occurrence in caregiving for a number of reasons, and if not addressed, it may result in caregiver depression or burnout. These strategies can help.
- Make an effort to understand their perspective. There are a number of reasons a senior loved one may not be expressing gratitude for the task you’re doing. Someone with dementia or another chronic condition might be fully focused on their particular struggles or even the day-to-day tasks at hand, which are now more challenging. Putting yourself in the other person’s shoes can help you accept that a lack of verbal appreciation does not necessarily equate to true ungratefulness.
- Start modeling appreciative behavior. Let the older adult see by example how good it feels to be appreciated by sincerely thanking them whenever the ability emerges, in spite of how small. If they fold and hang up the towel after their shower, clean off the table after dinner, or help with putting away groceries – be sure to thank them.
- Learn the skill of self-appreciation. The work you’re doing is extremely important, and you deserve to be rewarded for it. Choose something each week that you’re going to do for yourself for a job done well. It can be as simple as an hour spent reading on the front porch or a muffin from your favorite bakery. You may also want to plan for larger rewards, such as a weekend getaway, by engaging respite care services from a trusted care partner like Home Sweet Home In-Home Care.
We are always here to share in your family caregiver duties to relieve stress and allow you sufficient time for self-care. Consistently scheduled time away is essential, and we’re here for just as much or as little as you may need. While you are caring for yourself, we’ll help a person you love with:
- Companionship for conversations, games, puzzles, exercise, hobbies, etc.
- Transportation to appointments or fun outings
- Housekeeping and laundry
- Personal care (baths, showers, getting dressed, etc.)
- Medication reminders
- And much more, in accordance with each person’s unique needs