Family caregivers give so much of themselves to care for their loved ones, frequently surrendering their own individual needs and desires in the process. It seems normal to assume then that caregivers would feel great about themselves, with high self-esteem and sense of purpose.
Nevertheless, the reverse can be true, with many family caregivers dealing with thoughts and feelings of guilt, wishing they had more patience, a remedy for all of their senior loved ones’ dilemmas, or perhaps the power to accomplish everything by themselves without the need for assistance. They may have set unattainable and unrealistic guidelines, which often can lead to:
- Feeling trapped
- Not feeling good enough
- Wanting to get away
- Loss of pleasure in life
- Heightened stress
- Missing out on good quality time with your loved one
- And more
If you’re experiencing feelings of family caregiver guilt, taking these steps can be extraordinarily freeing:
- Admit your feelings of guilt and the specific reason behind it; as an example, “I feel guilty because I became impatient with Dad's repeated questions.”
- Maintain a realistic perspective, understanding that all family caregivers are going through challenges. We’re all human.
- Replace your internal “should have” dialogues to a far more constructive slant: It is challenging to respond to the exact same questions again and again, and I’m doing the best that I am able to.”
- Switch your focus to a positive achievement. Remind yourself of the joke you told that made Mom chuckle this afternoon or how much she enjoyed the dinner you prepared.
- Be sure to put aside sufficient time for calming, pleasurable and rewarding activities: participating in favorite hobbies and pastimes, journaling, spending time with family, friends and pets, etc.
- Follow a healthy and balanced lifestyle that includes nutritious eating, striving for 7 – 8 hours of sleep each night, exercising, quitting smoking and limiting alcohol consumption.
- Find a support partner. To be the best family caregiver you can be calls for regular, routine breaks from caregiving to take care of yourself.
Get in touch with Amy’s Helping Hands at 519.915.4370 for trusted Windsor-Essex respite care that allows family caregivers time to destress and unwind, a crucial component to effective elder care. We are available for your desired schedule and routine, with as much or as little ongoing support as necessary, up through around-the-clock, 24/7 care. Remember that taking the best care of yourself allows you to provide the best care for the older adult you love, and we are always available to help!