Family care providers give a great deal of themselves to take care of their senior loved ones, often surrendering their own needs and desires in the process. It seems natural to assume then that caregivers would feel good about themselves, with high self-esteem and sense of purpose.
Yet the exact opposite is frequently true, with many family caregivers struggling with feelings of caregiver guilt, wishing they had more patience, a remedy for all of their senior loved ones’ problems, or even the ability to accomplish everything by themselves without the need for help. They may have set unrealistic and unattainable standards, which could lead to:
- Feeling trapped
- Not feeling good enough
- Wanting to get away
- Lack of pleasure in life
- Heightened stress
- Missing out on high quality time together with loved ones
- And much more
If you are dealing with feelings of family caregiver guilt, taking these measures can be extremely freeing:
- Admit your feelings of guilt and also the specific reason behind it; as an example, “I feel guilty because I became impatient with Dad’s repetitive questions.”
- Keep a realistic perspective, understanding that all family caregivers are going through challenges. We are all human.
- Change your internal “should have” dialogues to a far more constructive slant: “It’s challenging to respond to the same questions repeatedly, and I’m doing the very best that I can.”
- Switch your focus to a positive accomplishment. Remind yourself of the joke you told that made Dad chuckle this morning, or just how much he appreciated the breakfast you prepared.
- Be sure to put aside sufficient time for calming, pleasurable and rewarding activities: engaging in favorite pastimes and hobbies, journaling, spending time with family, friends and pets, etc.
- Follow a healthy lifestyle which includes healthy eating, striving for 7 – 8 hours of sleep nightly, exercising, quitting smoking and limiting alcohol consumption.
- Find a support partner. To be the best caregiver you can be means regular, routine breaks from care assistance to take care of yourself.
Contact Home Sweet Home In-Home Care, leading provider of Kalamazoo home care and in other Michigan communities, for reliable respite care that allows family caregivers time to destress and unwind, a crucial element of effective senior care. For a full list of the communities we serve, please visit our Locations page. We are available in accordance with your desired schedule and routine, with as little or as much ongoing support as needed, up through around-the-clock, 24/7 care. Remember that taking the best care of yourself enables you to provide the best caregiving help for the person you love, and we are always here to help!