How to Cope with Caregiver Guilt as a Family Caregiver
Many people are trying to juggle various important responsibilities, and for family caregivers, it can feel the same as trying to juggle flaming swords and knives. It’s natural for family members to become overwhelmed and to experience feelings of caregiver guilt when trying to provide the best care for a loved one.
Guilt can show up in so many different ways. You could be feeling like you’re not spending enough quality time with the person in your care. You may be feeling guilty about contemplating a nursing home for the senior. The guilt may arise after the senior’s dementia-fueled repetitions caused you to snap. Or perhaps you feel like you’re not balancing your care well between the aging adult you love and your own children.
When caregiver guilt builds up, try to keep this statement top of mind: You are doing your best, and it’s ok to request help.
Let’s look a little more closely at that statement. First: you are doing your best. You would probably agree, but do you truly believe it? Reminding yourself about the following truths if you’re doubtful might help:
- My loved one appreciates me, even if they can’t or refuse to say so.
- I am doing the best that I can.
- I cannot change or correct the past, but I can control how I feel about it.
- Mistakes will likely happen.
- I am doing enough.
It could be even more helpful to place these and other affirmations on sticky notes around the house, such as on the kitchen counter or a medicine cabinet. And if there’s a specific statement that really speaks to you, utilize the calendar app on your phone to set it as a daily reminder.
Second: It’s ok to ask for help, whether that means professional help through San Diego Home Caregivers, or help from other relatives, your own personal friends, or the senior’s friends.
Try starting by contacting the older adult’s friends. We’ve all heard from well-meaning friends, “Just let me know what I can help with.” But it can be very difficult to actually take them up on that offer. And on the other hand, an older loved one’s friends in the neighborhood may refrain from helping so as not to step on your toes. Contact them and ask for specific help, such as, “Would you come visit with Mom every Monday for about an hour?” You might be surprised to discover how willing people are to help out — they just need to find out what you need.
You could also consider asking siblings or other family members for help. Bear in mind, if you’re able to find help for even a couple of small tasks, you will definitely feel less overwhelmed. Maybe Aunt Ruth can take Mom to her weekly physical therapy appointment, or Cousin Alan can go with Grandpa to church.
If family members live out of town, ask them to help with tasks that can be taken care of over the phone or online, like researching activities for seniors, or figuring out the most cost-effective drug store for the senior’s prescription medications.
The ideal solution, however, is partnering with San Diego Home Caregivers for customized in-home care assistance. We are here to help with services such as:
- Regular respite care
- Planning and preparing healthy meals
- Light housekeeping services and laundry
- Transportation to appointments, shopping and fun outings
- Specialized care for seniors with Alzheimer’s or other chronic conditions
- Companionship for socialization through conversations, hobbies/interests, exercise, etc.
- And more
San Diego Home Caregivers is here to help you during your caregiving journey. Our trained and experienced home care team can meet a wide range of needs particular to the challenges a senior is experiencing. Our caregiving professionals can make sure your loved one has everything needed, providing you with vital time away for self-care. Contact San Diego Home Caregivers, the leading provider of in home support services in San Diego and the surrounding communities, online or at (619) 487-9000 for more information.