Guilt. This single word can be used to describe so many people and the feelings that they have when caring for a loved one. They may have guilt over how much they are or are not doing or feeling guilty about not knowing if what they are doing is right. It is going to be easier said than done but when caring for a family member, we all must remember not to be too critical of ourselves. It is perfectly acceptable to admit how we are feeling and accept how we feel. Caregiving can trigger a host of difficult emotions, including anger, fear, resentment, guilt, helplessness, and grief.
It’s important to acknowledge and accept what you’re feeling, both good and bad. Don’t beat yourself up over your doubts and misgivings. These feelings don’t mean that you don’t love your family member—they simply mean you’re human.
One of the most important pieces of taking care of a family member is to remember that we cannot do everything on our own. There are resources out there to help us out when we are at our wits end. Try connecting with the Senior Center or Alzheimer’s Resource Center to find out about programs that they may host so that you can get a break from caregiving or to find a support group for family caregivers. Sometimes, the best way to get over what we are feeling is to share those feelings with other people that are experiencing similar feelings.
Finding a good respite service can also be extremely beneficial to those of us that are caring for a sick spouse or even a parent. Look into the option of having an in-home care company come into the home; even if it is only once each week to ensure you can take time for yourself. Not only is an outside caregiver good for you, it can be great for your loved one as well! An outside caregiver can give more social opportunities to your loved one. They can also help relieve the guilt you may have over leaving that person and it can relieve the guilt that the person receiving care may feel for having to be cared for. Visit here for resources to find a good home care company to play the role of respite.
It is often found that when one family member gets sick, the social aspect of many individual lives can be affected. Try to stay as active socially as you can and include your loved one in these social events. Going for a walk around the neighborhood or having a couple of friends over for dinner can be great ways to remain in contact. If it seems to be too much to have someone over that you have to cook for, ask if you can make it a potluck style meal. The Anchorage Senior and Activity Center has many different options for social interactions and the facility is set up in a way for it to be easy for everyone to get around.
It is perfectly acceptable to know that we cannot do everything for everyone. Knowing our limits and utilizing the resources that are around us is vital to our success in caring for not only ourselves but those around us. Take a moment to breathe and remind yourself that you are doing a good job caring for your loved one.