How to Manage One of the Most Common Struggles Faced by Family Caregivers: Guilt
Most of us are juggling a number of tasks at any given time, and for caregivers, it often feels like they’re juggling knives and flaming swords on top of it. It’s natural to feel overwhelmed and guilty when you’re responsible for caring for a loved one, whether that person is your spouse or your parent.
Guilt can manifest in many ways. Maybe you feel like you should be spending more time with your loved one. You may feel guilty about considering an assisted living facility for your loved one. You feel guilty because your loved one’s dementia-fueled repetitions made you snap. Or you feel guilty because you’re neglecting your own children in order to be a caregiver for your mother or father.
The most important things to keep in mind are: You’re doing the very best you can, and it’s perfectly normal to seek assistance.
Let’s take a closer look at that statement. First: You’re doing the best you can. You may agree, but do you really believe it? When you first experience feelings of guilt, remind yourself:
- I am doing the best I can.
- My loved one appreciates me, even if he or she can’t or won’t say so.
- Mistakes will happen.
- I can’t control or fix the past, but I can control how I feel about it.
- I am doing enough.
Consider posting these affirmations on notes around the house, perhaps on the refrigerator or inside a cabinet you access often. If there’s an affirmation you really like, use the calendar app on your cell phone to schedule it as a daily pop-up reminder.
Second: It’s okay to seek help, whether it’s professional help through Hillendale Home Care, or help from relatives, friends, or your loved one’s friends. Let’s start with your loved one’s network of friends. We’ve all heard from well-meaning friends, “Let me know if there’s anything I can do.” But how often do we follow up and ask?
Your mother’s friends from her card club probably do want to help, but they might be holding back because they don’t want to step on your toes. Contact them and ask for specific assistance. “Could you come visit with Mom every Wednesday for an hour?” You’ll likely be surprised at how willing people are to pitch in — they just need to know what you need.
Siblings and other relatives living in close proximity to the senior might also just need to be asked. Remember, if you can receive help for even a few small weekly tasks, you will feel less overwhelmed. Maybe Uncle Bobbie can take Dad out for a cup of coffee one morning each week, or Cousin Sara can take Grandma with her to church.
If siblings and other relatives live far away, ask them to handle tasks that can be done over the phone or online. Need a list of adult day care facilities? Looking for the most affordable pharmacy option for your parent’s prescriptions? Delegate those tasks.
Your best option, however, may be seeking the help of a professional in-home care agency like Hillendale Home Care. Our in-home caregivers can assist with services such as:
- Meal planning and preparation
- Regular respite care
- Transportation to appointments, shopping and events
- Light housekeeping
- Specialized care for persons with dementia
- Connections to community resources and caregiver support groups
Hillendale Home Care can be a partner with you as you walk this caregiving journey with your loved one. Our professional California home care staff can provide your loved one with companionship while assisting with daily tasks like hygiene, medication management, and laundry. Our kind, professional caregivers will make sure your loved one gets the help he or she needs. Contact us any time at 925-933-8181 for quality home care in Concord, CA and the surrounding area.