Family care providers give a great deal of themselves to take care of their senior loved ones, often sacrificing their own individual needs and desires during the process. It seems normal to assume then that caregivers would feel good about themselves, with high self-esteem and sense of purpose.
However, the exact opposite is usually true, with many family caregivers dealing with feelings of caregiver guilt, wishing they had more patience, a remedy for all of their loved ones’ dilemmas, or the power to do everything by themselves without the need for help. They may have set unattainable and unrealistic guidelines, that could result in:
- Feeling trapped
- Never feeling good enough
- Wanting to get away
- Loss of pleasure in life
- Elevated stress
- Missing out on high quality time with loved ones
- And more
If you are dealing with feelings of family caregiver guilt, taking these steps can be extremely freeing:
- Admit your feelings of guilt and also the particular cause of it; as an example, “I feel guilty because I became impatient with Dad’s repetitive questions.”
- Maintain a realistic perspective, understanding that all family caregivers are encountering challenges. We are all human.
- Switch your internal “should have” dialogues to a more positive slant: “It is challenging to answer the same questions repeatedly, and I’m doing the best that I can.”
- Turn your focus to a positive accomplishment. Remind yourself of the joke you told that made Dad chuckle this morning, or how much he enjoyed the meal you prepared.
- Be sure to put aside enough time for comforting, pleasurable and gratifying activities: engaging in favorite hobbies and pastimes, journaling, spending time with friends, family and pets, etc.
- Adhere to a healthier lifestyle that includes healthy eating, aiming for 7 – 8 hours of sleep each night, exercising, quitting smoking and limiting alcohol consumption.
- Find a support partner. To be the best care provider you can be calls for routine, regular breaks from caregiving to take care of yourself.
Contact Responsive Home Care, the top-rated provider of home health care in Plantation and surrounding areas, at 954-486-6440 for dependable respite care which enables family caregivers time to destress and unwind, an essential component to effective elder care. We’re available in accordance with your desired schedule and routine, with as much or as little ongoing support as needed, up through 24/7 care. Keep in mind that taking the best care of yourself allows you to provide the best care for the older adult you love, and we are always here to help!