Family care providers give so much of themselves to attend to their loved ones, often surrendering their own desires and needs in the process. It seems normal to assume then that caretakers would feel good about themselves, rich in self-esteem and sense of purpose. However, the opposite is often true, with many people experiencing family caregiver guilt.
Many family caregivers wish they had more patience, a remedy for all of their senior loved ones’ problems, or even the capacity to do everything on their own without the need for assistance. They may have set unattainable and unrealistic standards, which may result in:
- Feeling trapped
- Never feeling good enough
- Wanting to get away
- Lack of joy in life
- Heightened stress
- Missing out on good quality time with loved ones
- And much more
If you are encountering family caregiver guilt, taking these measures can be extraordinarily freeing:
- Admit your feelings of guilt and the specific reason behind it; for example, “I feel guilty because I became impatient with Mom’s repetitive questions.”
- Maintain a reasonable perspective, understanding that all family caretakers are struggling with challenges. We are all human.
- Replace your internal “should have” dialogues with a more uplifting slant: “It’s hard to respond to exactly the same questions over and over again, and I’m doing the very best that I’m able to.”
- Switch your focus to a positive outcome. Remind yourself of the joke you told that made Mom giggle this afternoon, or how much she enjoyed the meal you prepared.
- Be sure to set aside sufficient time for calming, pleasurable and gratifying activities: engaging in favorite hobbies and pastimes, journaling, spending time with family, friends and pets, etc.
- Follow a healthy and balanced lifestyle that includes healthy eating, striving for 7 – 8 hours of sleep each night, exercising, quitting smoking and limiting alcohol consumption.
- Find a support partner. To be the best care provider you can be means regular, routine breaks from caregiving to take care of yourself.
Get in touch with Midnight Sun, in Anchorage and the surrounding areas at (907) 677-7890 for dependable respite care which gives family caregivers time to destress and unwind, a needed aspect of effective Alaska 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. Remember that taking the best care of yourself allows you to provide the best care for the person you love, and we are always here to help!