If you’re a caregiver, you likely know this emotion all too well: guilt. Despite how much energy and time we invest in caring for a senior loved one, somehow it never seems to be enough, leaving us feeling as if we should have done more, shown more compassion, been more patient. And if we don’t properly tackle the caregiver guilt, it can eat away at us, resulting in feelings of regret and diminishing our self-esteem.
An average, everyday situation may look like this: you wake up, dash to get the kids prepared for school, throw in a load of laundry and begin to get your senior loved one ready to start her day. You get her settled in for breakfast and mentally work through your overloaded to-do list for the day, when your family member states that she would like pancakes today instead of the toast and cereal you’ve served; would that be a problem? Feeling irritated at this extra chore, no matter how small, causes you to snap back at her with an unkind remark.
Though you instantly recognize your overreaction, the damage has been done. You notice a tear in your loved one’s eye, and immediately apologize and present her with the requested breakfast change and a hug. And though the senior has moved on from the incident and is contentedly enjoying her breakfast, the feelings of remorse settle deeper into your core, making it hard to forgive yourself and get over the mistake.
And yet letting go of caregiver guilt is so critical, both for the caregiver herself and the older adult for whom she’s providing care. Try these strategies from Grace Home Care’s Topeka dementia care experts:
- Be realistic. Recognize that we’re all human, and we all make mistakes. There’s no such thing as a perfect caregiver. Remind yourself of the many positive ways you’re enhancing quality of life for your senior loved one, and then forgive yourself and learn from the mistakes.
- Take care of you. It’s so much easier to lose patience when we’re worn out, and let’s be honest: the life of a senior caregiver calls for a lot of time and energy, leaving little time left over for self-care. Make it a priority to designate time for yourself to rest, relax and recharge with favorite activities, get plenty of sleep, and stick to a healthy diet.
- Seek out support. Whether through an online caregiver support group, several close friends or family members, or a professional therapist, it’s vital for caregivers to find an outlet to share their feelings with those who will understand and provide needed support.
One especially helpful way to ensure a healthy life balance and the best possible care for a senior loved one is by partnering with a professional home care agency like Grace Home Care. Our respite care services allow family caregivers to take a much needed break while being assured their loved one is receiving the highest quality care.
Let us walk beside you through your senior care journey and uncover a greater level of peace of mind and enjoyment in life! Contact Grace Home Care, the top providers of trusted respite care Topeka and the surrounding area can find, by calling 785.286.CARE.