Family caregivers give a great deal of themselves to care for their loved ones, often surrendering 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. Yet the reverse can be true, with many family care providers struggling with thoughts and feelings of guilt, wishing they had more patience, the answer for all of their loved ones’ dilemmas, or perhaps the power to do everything on their own without the need for help. There are ways to prevent caregiver guilt, especially if you understand the cause of the guilt in the first place.
Some caregivers may have set unrealistic and unattainable standards that can lead to:
- Feeling trapped
- Never feeling good enough
- Wanting to get away
- Lack of joy in life
- Heightened stress
- Missing out on high-quality time with senior loved ones
- And much more
- Admit your feelings of guilt as well as the specific reason behind it; for example, “I feel guilty because I became impatient with Mom’s repetitive questions.”
- Keep a reasonable perspective, knowing that all family caregivers are experiencing challenges. We are all human.
- Replace your internal “should have” dialogues with a more positive slant: “It is challenging to respond to the same questions over and over again, and I am doing the very best that I am able to.”
- Turn your focus to a positive outcome. Remind yourself of the joke you told that made Mom chuckle this afternoon, or how much she appreciated the lunch you prepared.
- Prevent caregiver guilt by putting aside enough time for comforting, pleasurable and rewarding activities: participating in favorite hobbies and pastimes, journaling, spending time with family, friends and pets, etc.
- Follow a healthy lifestyle that includes nutritious 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 caregiver you can be requires regular, routine breaks from care to take care of yourself.
Contact Jewish Family Services Care at (213) 383-2273 for dependable respite care which gives family caregivers time to destress and unwind, a necessary element of effective 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. Keep in mind that taking the best care of yourself allows you to provide the best care assistance for the senior you love, and we are always here to help! Let our team show you why we are the most trusted caregiver agency in Los Angeles, CA and the surrounding areas. For more information and all of the areas we serve in California, please visit our Service Area page.