Family caregivers give a tremendous amount of themselves to take care of their loved ones, frequently giving up their own desires and needs along the way. It may seem normal, then, to presume that caregivers would feel great about themselves, with a high level of self-esteem and sense of purpose.
Nevertheless, the opposite can be more accurate. Family caregiver guilt is common and many caregivers wish they had more patience, the answer for all of their family member’s problems, or the capability to accomplish everything on their own without the need for help. They may have set unachievable and impractical goals, which can result in:
- Feeling trapped
- Never feeling good enough
- Wanting to get away
- Lack of enjoyment in life
- Increased stress
- Lacking good quality time with a senior loved one
- And much more
If you are facing feelings of family caregiver guilt, taking these steps can be incredibly liberating:
- Admit your feelings of guilt along with the particular reason behind it; as an example, “I am feeling guilty because I became impatient with Dad’s repetitive questions.”
- Keep a realistic perspective, knowing that all family caregivers are dealing with challenges. We all are human.
- Replace your internal “should have” dialogues with a more encouraging slant: “It is challenging to respond to the exact same questions over and over, and I am doing the very best that I can.”
- Change your focus to a positive outcome. Remind yourself of the joke you told that made Dad chuckle this afternoon or how much he loved the dinner you prepared.
- Make sure to put aside routine time for soothing, pleasurable, and gratifying activities: engaging in favorite hobbies and pastimes, writing in a journal, socializing with friends, family and pets, etc.
- Adhere to a healthier lifestyle that includes nutritious foods, striving for 7 – 8 hours of sleep every night, working out, stopping smoking, and limiting alcohol consumption.
- Find a support partner. To be the best family caregiver you can be means ongoing, routine breaks from care to take care of yourself.
Get in touch with CareFor at (512) 338-4533 for customized senior care that allows family caregivers time to relax and unwind, an essential aspect of effective elder care. Our compassionate home caregivers, offering elder home care in Austin, TX and the surrounding areas, are available based on your preferred schedule and routine, with as much or as little ongoing support as needed, up through around-the-clock care. Always remember that taking the best care of yourself allows you to provide the best care for the senior you love, and we are always right here to help!