Family caregivers need to learn how to deal with guilt in relation to their caregiving duties, so they can meet the needs of their aging loved one as well as themselves. Here are 5 ways that family caregivers can avoid or reduce the amount of guilt they feel:
1. Acknowledge the Feelings are Real and Normal
Family caregiving also stirs up a lot of emotions. They may feel angry that their loved one is sick or frustrated at their stubbornness. Anyone who cares for an aging relative knows that much of the work is not really appreciated and may go on unnoticed and therefore unappreciated. All these feelings and more are enough to cause a family caregiver to experience guilty for their range of feelings. As they try to bury those natural feelings, their physical and mental health starts to suffer.
2. Forgive Themselves
Family caregivers must forgive themselves for having completely normal emotions regarding caregiving. They are in a difficult situation and are doing the best they can. However, family caregivers that forgive themselves will be taking one step closer to finding solutions to all the stress that is causing all the negative emotions. Often, acknowledging that they are in a difficult situation that requires difficult decisions is enough to give themselves permission to move on from the guilt.
3. Acknowledge Increase in Duties
Just because a caregiving arrangement was once working doesn’t mean that it still is. Family caregivers often start out helping elderly relatives with a few small tasks, but as the senior’s health and wellness decline, the responsibilities pile up. Family caregivers battle guilt over not being able to do everything they once did without realizing that the tasks have increased over the months or years.
4. Arrange for Help
It’s imperative that family caregivers make plans for assistance in their caregiving duties. Many find success in hiring home care providers. These professionals come in to the home and help the aging adult with daily tasks, from bathing and dressing to meal preparation and housekeeping. When an elderly loved one is in the capable hands of professionals, family caregivers don’t have to feel guilty about leaving for a while.
5. Practice Proper Self-Care
When family caregivers are tired and stressed, it is harder to stay in control of what they think, say and feel. It’s important to build up emotional reserves when possible to sustain them through the hard times. When family caregivers do get a break, thanks to hiring home care providers, they need to make it count. Lunch with friends, reading a good book, taking a nap, working on a hobby or working part-time.
Dealing with guilt isn’t easy for family caregivers, but instead of trying to suppress their feelings and suffer, they can take steps to avoid it and live a happier and healthier life.
IF YOU OR AN AGING SENIOR ARE CONSIDERING HOME CARE AGENCIES IN BOISE, ID, PLEASE CONTACT THE CARING STAFF AT HOME HELPERS HOME CARE OF BOISE. CALL US: (208) 322-2668.
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