November 12, 2020

happy woman on beach in the wind

It’s easy to experience caregiver guilt when caring for a senior loved one.

Family care providers give a great deal of themselves to attend to their loved ones, often sacrificing their own needs and desires in the process. It seems natural to presume then that caregivers would feel great about themselves, rich in self-esteem and sense of purpose.

Nonetheless, the opposite is oftentimes true, with many family caregivers dealing with thoughts and feelings of guilt, wishing they had more patience, the answer for all of their loved ones’ dilemmas, or the power to do everything on their own without the need for help. They may have set unattainable and unrealistic standards, that could result in:

  • Resentment
  • Feeling trapped
  • Never feeling good enough
  • Wanting to get away
  • Loss of pleasure in life
  • Elevated stress
  • Missing out on good quality time together with senior loved ones
  • And much more

If you are experiencing feelings of caregiver guilt, taking these steps can be immensely freeing:

  1. Admit your feelings of guilt and the specific cause of it; for instance, “I feel guilty because I became impatient with Mom’s repetitive questions.”
  2. Keep a realistic perspective, understanding that all family caregivers are encountering challenges. We are all human.
  3. Change your internal “should have” dialogues to a more encouraging slant: “It is challenging to respond to the exact same questions repeatedly, and I’m doing the very best that I am able to.”
  4. Switch your focus to a positive outcome. Remind yourself of the joke you told that made Dad laugh this morning, or just how much he enjoyed the lunch you prepared.
  5. Make sure to put aside enough time for calming, enjoyable and gratifying activities: participating in favorite pastimes and hobbies, journaling, spending time with friends, family and pets, etc.
  6. Follow a healthy and balanced lifestyle that includes healthy eating, aiming for 7 – 8 hours of sleep every night, exercising, quitting smoking and limiting alcohol consumption.
  7. Find a support partner. To be the best care provider you can be calls for regular, routine breaks from care assistance to take care of yourself.

Reach out to Continuum at (314) 863-9912 for trusted private home care which allows family caregivers time to destress and unwind, an integral component to effective elder care. Our respite care services are available in accordance with your desired schedule and routine, with as little or as much ongoing support as needed, up through around-the-clock, 24/7 care. Keep in mind that taking the best care of yourself allows you to provide the best care for the person you love, and we are always available to help! To learn about all of the communities we serve in St. Louis and St. Charles counties, please visit our Service Area page.