November 12, 2020 by Dean Bellefeuille

happy-woman-on-windy-beach

Family caregivers give so much of themselves to care for their loved ones, often sacrificing 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 opposite is often true, with many family caregivers struggling with feelings of guilt, wishing they had more patience, a solution for all of their loved ones’ problems, or the ability to do everything on their own without the need for help. They may have set unrealistic and unattainable standards, which can lead to:

  • Resentment
  • Feeling trapped
  • Never feeling good enough
  • Wanting to get away
  • Loss of joy in life
  • Elevated stress
  • Missing out on high quality time with loved ones
  • And more

If you’re experiencing feelings of caregiver guilt, taking these steps can be extraordinarily freeing:

  1. Admit your feelings of guilt and the specific reason behind it; for instance, “I feel guilty because I became impatient with Mom’s repetitive questions.”
  2. Keep a realistic perspective, understanding that all family caregivers are experiencing challenges. We’re all human.
  3. Replace your internal “should have” dialogues with a more positive slant: “It’s hard to answer the same questions over and over again, and I’m doing the best that I can.”
  4. Switch your focus to a positive accomplishment. Remind yourself of the joke you told that made Mom chuckle this morning, or how much she enjoyed the lunch you prepared.
  5. Be sure to set aside plenty of time for calming, enjoyable and rewarding activities: engaging in favorite pastimes and hobbies, journaling, spending time with friends family and pets, etc.
  6. Follow a healthy lifestyle that includes nutritious eating, striving for 7 – 8 hours of sleep each night, exercising, quitting smoking and limiting alcohol consumption.
  7. Find a support partner. To be the best caregiver you can be requires regular, routine breaks from care to take care of yourself.

Call At Home Independent Living, leaders in Lafayette, NY home care (and serving surrounding areas as well) at (315) 579-HOME (4663) for trusted respite care that allows family caregivers time to destress and unwind, a necessary component to effective senior care. We’re available according to 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 allows you to provide the best care for the senior you love, and we are always here to help!