There’s one thing all caregivers can relate to: guilt. It doesn’t matter how much time and effort we devote to caring for a senior loved one, somehow it never seems to be enough, leaving us thinking we should have done more, shown more compassion, been more patient. And if we don’t properly handle the guilt, it can eat away at us, resulting in feelings of remorse and diminishing our self-esteem.
An ordinary circumstance may look like this: you wake up, rush to get the kids prepared for school, throw in a load of laundry and start to get your senior loved one ready to begin the day. You get her settled in for breakfast and mentally work through your overflowing to-do list for the day, when the senior announces that she would like oatmeal instead of cereal today; would that be too much trouble? Feeling agitated at this additional task, no matter how small, causes you to snap back at her with an unkind remark.
Although you instantly recognize your overreaction, the harm has been done. You see a tear spring to your loved one’s eye, and immediately apologize and offer her the requested breakfast change and a hug. And though the senior has moved on from the episode and is contentedly enjoying her breakfast, the feelings of remorse settle deeper into your core, making it hard to forgive yourself and get over the mistake.
And yet letting go of caregiver guilt is so critical, both for the caregiver herself and the older adult for whom she’s providing care. Try these recommendations from Home With You’s experts in providing the professional Owings Mills senior care families trust:
- Be realistic. Recognize that we’re all human, and we all make mistakes. No one can be a perfect caregiver. Remind yourself of the many positive ways you’re maximizing quality of life for your senior loved one, and then forgive yourself and learn from your mistakes.
- Take care of you. It’s quite a bit easier to lose patience when we’re exhausted, and let’s face it: the life of a senior caregiver demands 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 favorite activities, get plenty of sleep, and follow a healthy diet.
- Find support. Whether through an online caregiver support group, several close friends or family members, or a professional therapist, it’s critical for caregivers to find an outlet to share their feelings with those who will understand and provide needed support.
One especially helpful way to achieve a healthy life balance and the best possible care for a senior loved one is by partnering with a professional home care agency like Home With You. Our respite care services allow family caregivers to take a much needed break while having the assurance that their loved one is receiving the highest quality care.
Let us walk beside you through your care journey and uncover a greater level of peace of mind and enjoyment in life! Contact Home With You, the top providers of trusted Owings Mills senior care families need, by calling (410) 654-3300.