Caring for an aging loved one can be one of the most rewarding experiences that you’ll ever have. On the other hand, being an informal caregiver can be an emotional rollercoaster ride filled with good days and bad. As the daily responsibilities pile up, negative emotions like guilt are inevitable. if you’re not careful, lacking the tools to manage caregiver guilt can cloud your judgment, cause stress and anxiety, and even lead to caregiver burnout. Fortunately, honoring the commitment that you made to your loved one is possible by taking these steps.
Why Caregivers Feel Guilty
Family caregivers often feel guilty for these reasons:
- Anger or resentment directed towards the care recipient
- Not being able to spend enough time with them
- Frustration because their loved one’s condition continues to get worse
- Lacking enough time to spend with their spouse and children
- Having negative thoughts that life would be better if the care recipient would just pass away
- Doing activities without their loved one that they used to do together
How to Stay Positive as a Caregiver
Being a more effective caregiver requires the ability to manage negative emotions that can interfere with the quality of care that you provide, including guilt. That said, here are several ways to keep your attitude positive so that your seniors will continue to receive the nurturing they deserve:
Set realistic goals
It’s okay sometimes to lower your expectations if your initial goals are not realistic or attainable. For instance, if Mom or Dad has dementia, you can’t expect them to follow all your instructions, like taking their medications on schedule.
However, it may be possible for your aging parent to remember the good times you shared by showing them old photos. If your loved one has a serious health condition, celebrate small victories like getting them out of the house for a few hours.
Confront the underlying problem
Guilt can sneak up on you when least expected and be hard to recognize. Feeling guilty is usually an emotional smokescreen for what’s going on inside. For example, you may be frustrated because Dad can’t drive anymore and are unhappy that you must transport him around. Admitting your feelings will allow you to confront the root cause of your guilt. Instead of feeling guilty that you resent having to take Dad to his appointments, be appreciative of the fact that you get to spend more bonding time with him.
Find a healthy balance
One of the main reasons caregivers experience guilt is feeling like they are neglecting other essential relationships, like those with their spouse or children. Keeping negative feelings like guilt away is possible by achieving a healthy balance between caregiving, your job, and your personal life.
That way, you won’t miss out on special events in your family’s lives, including those with your elderly loved one. Other self-care tips for caregivers include getting plenty of sleep, exercising regularly, eating a well-balanced diet, and joining a caregiver support group.
Take a break
Caregiving can be overwhelming even for the most level-headed person. All caregivers at some point need to take a break (respite) and recharge.
Once you’ve decided to step back for a while, sources of caregiver relief include:
- Trusted friends, family members, or neighbors
- Community volunteers that work with the aging
- Adult daycare
- A professional respite caregiver from a reputable home care provider
Reliable In-Home Respite Care for Seniors in Bradenton, FL
When it’s time to take a well-deserved caregiving break, finding someone trustworthy to fill your shoes isn’t always easy. At First In Care, our compassionate caregivers can step in and provide your seniors with attention and nurturing. While serving as an extended family in your loved one’s home, our highly trained professionals understand what’s required to maintain a client’s quality of life, along with their dignity and self-esteem. In addition to respite care uniquely tailored to your family’s needs, First In Care also provides in-home support for other daily living activities like personal hygiene, light housework, medication reminders, companionship, and transportation. Our senior caregiving services are affordable, flexible, and always delivered in a seamless package that restores your peace of mind. To learn more now about our private home health and concierge services in Bradenton and Manatee County, Florida, please visit www.firstincare.com.