Help for Caregivers Struggling with Guilt
Most of us are juggling a number of balls at any given time, and for caregivers, it often feels like they’re juggling knives and flaming swords on top of it. It’s common to feel overburdened and guilty when you’re a caregiver for a loved one, whether that person is your spouse or your parent.
Guilt can manifest in many ways. Maybe you feel like you’re spending too little time with your loved one. You may feel guilty about considering an assisted living facility for your loved one. You might feel guilty when your loved one’s dementia-fueled behaviors caused you to snap. Or you could feel guilty about neglecting your own children’s needs in order to care for your senior loved one.
The most important things to remember are: You are doing the best you can, and it’s okay to seek help.
Let’s take a closer look at that statement. First: You’re doing the best you can. You most likely agree, but do you believe it? When you start to feel guilty, remind yourself:
- I am doing the best I can.
- My loved one appreciates me, even if he or she can’t or won’t say so.
- Mistakes will happen.
- I can’t control or fix the past, but I can control how I feel about it.
- I am doing enough.
Consider posting these affirmations on notes around the house, perhaps on the refrigerator or inside a cabinet you access often. Or, use the calendar app on your cell phone to schedule a favorite affirmation as a daily pop-up reminder.
Second: It’s perfectly acceptable to seek help, whether through a professional caregiving organization such as Hired Hands Homecare, or from relatives, friends, or your loved one’s friends.
Let’s start with your loved one’s network of friends. Many times, people will make the offer: “Let me know if there’s anything I can do.” But how often do we accept that offer? Your mother’s friends from her card club probably do want to help, but they might be holding back because they don’t want to step on your toes. Contact them and ask for specific assistance. “Can you come sit with Mom every Thursday for one hour?” You will probably be surprised by how willing people are to help you — they just need to know what you need.
Siblings and other relatives living in close proximity to the senior might also just need to be asked. Remember, if you can receive help for even a few small weekly tasks, you will feel less overwhelmed. Maybe Aunt Sue can take Dad to his weekly physical therapy appointment, or Cousin Joe can take Grandma along to church.
If siblings and other relatives live far away, ask them to handle tasks that can be done over the phone or online. Need a list of adult day care facilities? Trying to figure out the most cost-effective pharmacy for your parent’s prescriptions? Delegate those tasks.
Or even better, request the help of a professional caregiver agency such as Hired Hands Homecare. Our in-home senior caregivers can assist with caregiver services such as:
- Meal planning and preparation
- Regular respite care
- Transportation to appointments, shopping and events
- Light housekeeping
- Specialized care for persons with dementia
- Connections to community resources and caregiver support groups
Hired Hands Homecare can be a partner with you as you walk this caregiving journey with your loved one. Our professional California caregivers can provide your loved one with companionship while assisting with daily tasks like hygiene, medication management, and laundry. Our kind, caring professionals will make sure your loved one gets the help he or she needs. You can reach us any time at 866-940-4343 with any questions or to get started.