How to Free Yourself of Caregiver Guilt

woman on beach in windFamily care providers give a great deal of themselves to take care of their loved ones, frequently surrendering their own desires and needs in the process. It may seem natural to assume then that caregivers would feel good about themselves, with high self-esteem and sense of purpose.

However, the opposite is oftentimes true, with many family care providers struggling with feelings of guilt, wishing they had more patience, a remedy for all of their loved ones’ issues, or the power to do everything on their own without the need for assistance. They may have set unrealistic and unattainable standards, which may lead to:

  • Bitterness
  • Feeling trapped
  • Not feeling good enough
  • Wanting to get away
  • Loss of joy in life
  • Elevated stress
  • Missing out on high quality time together with loved ones
  • And much more

If you’re encountering feelings of caregiver guilt, taking these steps can be extremely freeing:

  1. Admit your feelings of guilt as well as the particular cause of it; for instance, “I feel guilty because I became impatient with Mom’s repeated questions.”
  2. Keep a reasonable perspective, knowing that all family caregivers are encountering challenges. We’re all human.
  3. Replace your internal “should have” dialogues with a more favorable slant: “It is challenging to answer the same questions again and again, and I’m doing the very best that I am able to.”
  4. Switch your focus to a positive achievement. Remind yourself of the joke you told that made Mom smile this morning, or how much she enjoyed the dinner you prepared.
  5. Be sure to put aside enough time for calming, enjoyable and gratifying activities: engaging in favorite hobbies and pastimes, journaling, spending time with family, friends and pets, etc.
  6. Adhere to a healthy lifestyle which includes healthy eating, striving for 7 – 8 hours of sleep each night, exercising, quitting smoking and limiting alcohol consumption.
  7. Find a support partner. To be the best family caregiver you can be requires routine, regular breaks from care assistance to take care of yourself.

Call Generations at Home at 727-940-3414 for trusted respite care which enables family caregivers time to destress and unwind, an essential element of effective senior care. We’re available based on your desired schedule and routine, with as little or as much ongoing support as needed, up through around-the-clock care. Keep in mind that taking the best care of yourself allows you to provide the best care assistance for the older adult you love, and we are always available to help!