Caregiver guilt is a very real and common emotion experienced by the vast majority of family caregivers who are trying to balance taking care of a parent or elderly loved one while still seeing to the needs of their own family. These caregivers often feel like they’re not doing enough, and that what they are doing isn’t good enough. Some may also feel guilty for just wanting out.
While these feelings are natural and often unavoidable, it’s important that caregivers not let guilt consume them. Here are a few suggestions that can help you cope with these feelings and come to terms with the situation.
- Find a support system. Whether it’s your best friend, a caregiver support group, or a therapist, find someone you can talk to about what you’re going through. Fellow caregivers are the best resource, as they can identify with what you’re feeling and are more likely to have helpful suggestions and strategies that they can share with you. If you have siblings or other family members who could pitch in but are leaving the bulk of the care to you, have an honest conversation with them about their responsibility to help, financially or otherwise.
- Learn to say “no”. When you have a parent or loved one in need of care, learning to tell them “no” and set limits after everything they’ve done for you can be extremely difficult, but also very necessary. You won’t be any good to your loved one if you become too burnt out to continue caring for them. Instead of fighting the guilt, embrace it. Use it as an opportunity to step back, breathe, and take some time to focus on other positive relationships that help renew your spirit so that you can care for your loved one without resentment.
- Take time for yourself. Many caregivers avoid scheduling regular time for themselves because the relative they’re caring for uses guilt as a weapon. The sad truth is that many caregivers struggle with anxiety and depression because the loved ones they care for imply that they’re being neglected or abandoned when left on their own. It’s important to face this problem head-on by gently but firmly assuring the family member that they’re loved and cared for, but to be able to best take care of them you need to do something just for you at times. Start by having a family member, friend, or even a professional that provides in-home care services come sit with them once a week, whether it be for the day or just a few hours. Then work up from there to however many days you think you need to recharge and feel at peace.
Get Help at Griswold Home Care
At Griswold Home Care of Wheat Ridge, we understand that the physical, mental and emotional needs of caregivers should be just as much of a priority as the care of the elderly loved one they’re looking after. If you’re in a caregiving situation, you can call on us for companion, homemaking, hospice, personal, live-in, overnight, and respite care. We even provide emergency respite care if an emergency or other pressing situation comes up. Let us support you in your time of need. Give us a call today at (303) 622-5585 to find out more, and check out our caregiver resource page.