Guilt: it’s one thing every caregiver can relate to. No matter how much hard work we dedicate to caring for a senior loved one, somehow it never seems to be quite enough, leaving us feeling as though we could have done more, shown more compassion, been more patient. And if we don’t effectively handle the guilt, it can eat away at us, leading to feelings of remorse and diminishing our self-esteem.
A regular situation may look like this: you wake up, hurry to get the kids off to school, toss in a load of laundry and start to get your senior loved one ready for her day. You get her settled in for breakfast and mentally work through your overloaded to-do list for the day, when your family member states that she would like oatmeal instead of the toast you’ve prepared today; would that be too much trouble? Feeling irritated at this additional task, no matter how small, causes you to snap back at her with a less-than-kind remark.
Though you quickly recognize you’ve overreacted, the harm has been done. You see a tear in the senior’s eye, and immediately apologize and provide her with her bowl of oatmeal and a hug. And though your loved one has moved on from the experience and is happily enjoying her breakfast, the feelings of guilt settle deeper into your core, making it hard to forgive yourself and forget about the mistake.
And yet letting go of caregiver guilt is so imperative, both for the caregiver herself and the older adult for whom she’s providing care. Try these strategies from Live Free Home Health Care’s experts in providing elderly care New Hampton, NH families trust:
- Be realistic. Understand that we’re all human, and naturally, we all make mistakes. There certainly is no such thing as a perfect caregiver. Remind yourself of the numerous positive ways you’re enhancing quality of life for your senior loved one, and then forgive yourself and learn from the mistakes.
- Take care of yourself. It’s quite a bit easier to lose patience when we’re fatigued, and let’s face it: the life of a senior caregiver calls for a lot of time and energy, leaving little opportunity for self-care. Make it a priority to set aside time for yourself to rest, relax and recharge with enjoyable activities, get plenty of sleep, and follow a healthy diet.
- Seek out support. Whether through an online caregiver support group, a couple of close friends or family members, or a professional counselor, it’s vital for caregivers to find an outlet to share their feelings with those who will understand and provide needed support.
One especially helpful way to ensure a healthy life balance and the best possible care for a senior loved one is by partnering with a professional home care agency like Live Free Home Health Care. Our respite care services provide the opportunity for family caregivers to take a much needed break while knowing their loved one is receiving the highest quality care.
Let us walk beside you through your caregiving journey and uncover a greater level of peace of mind and enjoyment in life! Contact Live Free Home Health Care, the top providers of trusted elderly care in New Hampton, NH and surrounding areas, by calling 603-217-0149.