A lot of us are trying to juggle numerous assorted responsibilities, and for family caregivers, it can feel similar to juggling flaming swords and knives. It’s natural for family members to become overloaded and to experience feelings of caregiver guilt when wanting to provide the best care for a member of the family.
Guilt can develop in various forms. Maybe you’re feeling like you’re not spending enough quality time with the person you’re caring for. You might be feeling guilty about considering a nursing home for the older person. The guilt may arise after your loved one’s dementia-fueled repetitions caused you to snap. Or perhaps you feel like you’re not paying enough attention to your own children in order to care for a senior family member.
When caregiver guilt creeps in, make an effort to keep this declaration in mind: You are doing your very best, and it’s ok to request help.
Let’s take a closer look at that sentence. First: you are doing your best. You would probably agree, but do you truly believe it? Reminding yourself about these truths if you’re not sure may help:
- I am doing the best that I can.
- My loved one values me, even if they can’t or refuse to say it out loud.
- Mistakes are likely to happen.
- I cannot change or fix the past, but I can control how I feel about it.
- I am doing enough.
It might even be useful to place these and other affirmations on sticky notes throughout the house, such as on the fridge or in the medicine cabinet. And if there is a certain statement that really helps you, make use of the calendar app on your phone to set it as a daily reminder.
Second: It’s fine to ask for help, whether that means professional help from CareFor or help from other members of the family, your own personal friends, or the senior’s friends.
Let’s start with the older adult’s friends. We’ve all heard from well-meaning friends, “Just let me know what I can help with.” But do we ever follow through on their offer? The older loved one’s friends in the community may hold back on helping so as not to step on your toes. Contact them and ask for specific help, like, “Would you come visit with Dad every Tuesday for an hour or so?” You might be surprised to discover how willing people are to pitch in — once they find out what you need.
Siblings as well as other family members who live close by may also just need to be asked. Keep in mind, if you’re able to bring in help for even a couple of small tasks, you will definitely feel less weighed down. Maybe Aunt Ruth can take Mom to her weekly physical therapy appointment, or Cousin Alan can go with Grandma to church.
If family members live at a distance, ask them to assist with tasks that can be done over the telephone or online, such as researching adult day care facilities or figuring out the most cost-effective drugstore for the older adult’s prescriptions.
The ideal solution, however, is partnering with CareFor for customized in-home care assistance. We are here to help with Austin caregiving services such as:
- Meal planning/preparation
- Regular respite care
- Transportation to appointments, shopping, and fun outings
- Light house cleaning and laundry
- Companionship for socialization through conversations, hobbies/interests, exercise, and more
- Specialized care for those with dementia or other chronic health concerns
- And much more
CareFor is here to walk alongside you during your caregiving journey. Our trained and experienced home care team can meet a wide array of needs particular to the challenges a senior is facing. Our caregiving professionals can help ensure your loved one has everything needed, providing you with vital time away for self-care. Contact CareFor, the leading provider of Austin caregiving services and elderly home care in the surrounding communities, at (512) 338-4533 for more information.