Many of us feel as though we’re juggling a lot of balls in our everyday lives, but for the family caregiver, it can feel as though they’re juggling knives and flaming swords as well. It’s perfectly normal to experience feelings of guilt and of being overwhelmed when you’re responsible for providing care for a senior loved one, whether is an aging parent, a spouse, or another elderly relative.
Caregiver guilt comes in a variety of forms. Sometimes it can feel like you’re not spending enough time with the senior. Guilt can also stem from considering an assisted living facility for your loved one. Or sometimes, a loved one’s dementia-fueled behaviors can cause frustration, leading to guilt. And often, the family caregiver feels guilty from a sense of neglecting other family members, such as children.
When caregiver guilt strikes, it’s important to remember: You are doing the very best you can, and it’s ok to seek assistance.
Let’s break down that statement. First: You’re doing the very best you can. While you may agree with that statement, do you actually believe it? When you begin to feel guilty, remind yourself:
- I’m truly doing the best I can.
- My senior loved one appreciates me, even if he or she is unable to say so.
- Mistakes happen.
- I’m unable to control or fix the past, but I can control how I feel about it.
- What I am doing is enough.
Consider placing these affirmations on Post-It notes around your home, maybe on the refrigerator door or inside the medicine cabinet. If there’s a particular affirmation you really like, use the calendar app on your phone to schedule it as a daily reminder.
Next: It’s ok to seek assistance, whether it’s professional help through Hillendale Home Care, or help from family, friends, or the senior’s friends.
Let’s begin with your senior loved one’s network of friends. We often hear from well-meaning friends, “Let me know if there’s anything I can do.” But it can be difficult to follow up and ask for help. Your mother’s neighborhood friends probably do want to help, but they might be holding back so as not to step on your toes. Call them and ask for specific assistance. “Can you come stay with Mom every Wednesday for an hour?” You’ll likely be surprised by how willing people are to help you; they simply need to know what you need.
Nearby family members might also just need to be asked. Keep in mind, if you can receive assistance for even a few small tasks each week, you will feel much less overwhelmed. Maybe Aunt Jane can take Mom to her weekly physical therapy session, or Cousin Bob can take Grandma with him to church. If family members live farther away, you can ask them to handle tasks that can be done over the phone or online. Searching for a list of adult day care facilities? Or the most affordable pharmacy for your loved one’s prescriptions? Delegate those tasks. Or even better, enlist the help of a professional home care agency such as Hillendale Home Care.
Hillendale Home Care can assist with services such as:
- Planning and preparing meals
- Providing ongoing, dependable respite care
- Running errands and providing transportation
- Light housekeeping
- Specialized care for those with dementia
- Connections to local resources and caregiver support groups
Hillendale Home Care can partner with you as you walk the journey as a family caregiver for your senior loved one. Our professional California home care staff can provide your loved one with friendly companionship while assisting with tasks such as hygiene, medication management, laundry, and more. Our kind, caring professionals will make sure your loved one gets the help he or she needs. Contact us at 925-933-8181 to learn more.