Family caregivers give so much of themselves to take care of their loved ones, frequently sacrificing their own individual needs and desires during the process. It may seem normal to assume then that caregivers would feel great about themselves, with high self-esteem and sense of purpose.
However, the opposite is usually true, with many family care providers struggling with thoughts and feelings of guilt, wishing they had more patience, the answer for all of their senior loved ones’ issues, or even the ability to do everything by themselves without the need for assistance. They may have set unattainable and unrealistic benchmarks, which could lead to:
- Feeling trapped
- Never feeling good enough
- Wanting to get away
- Lack of pleasure in life
- Heightened stress
- Missing out on high quality time with loved ones
- And more
If you are encountering feelings of family caregiver guilt, taking these actions can be immensely freeing:
- Admit your feelings of guilt and the specific cause of it; for instance, “I feel guilty because I became impatient with Mom’s repeated questions.”
- Keep a realistic perspective, understanding that all family caregivers are having to deal with challenges. We are all human.
- Replace your internal “should have” dialogues with a far more positive slant: “It is challenging to respond to the same questions over and over again, and I am doing the best that I am able to.”
- Switch your focus to a positive outcome. Remind yourself of the joke you told that made Mom giggle this morning, or how much she enjoyed the meal you prepared.
- Be sure to put aside plenty of time for calming, enjoyable and rewarding activities: participating in favorite hobbies and pastimes, journaling, spending time with family, friends and pets, etc.
- Adhere to a healthier lifestyle which includes nutritious 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 requires regular, routine breaks from caregiving to take care of yourself.
Call Atlanta Home Care Partners, the top-rated providers of Atlanta personal care for seniors (serving surrounding areas as well) at (404) 228-0103 for reliable respite care that allows family caregivers time to destress and unwind, a crucial aspect of effective elder care. We’re available in accordance with your desired schedule and routine, with as much or as little ongoing support as necessary, up through around-the-clock care. Keep in mind that taking the best care of yourself enables you to provide the best care for the senior you love, and we are always here to help!