7 Ways to Stop Feeling Guilty as a Caregiver

A woman stands on the beach, raising her arms to symbolize letting go of feeling guilty as a caregiver.
These seven simple steps will help you overcome feeling guilty as a caregiver.

Family caregivers sacrifice quite a lot of themselves to take care of loved ones, often leaving behind their own desires and needs along the way. It may seem normal, then, to believe that caregivers would feel great about themselves, with high self-worth and sense of purpose.

Nevertheless, the opposite may be the reality. Feeling guilty as a caregiver is common, and many family caregivers wish they possessed more patience, an answer for all of their family member’s problems, or the ability to take care of everything on their own without the need for help. They may have set unachievable and impractical goals, which can contribute to:

  • Resentment
  • Feeling stuck
  • Never feeling good enough
  • Wishing to get away
  • Lack of happiness in life
  • Increased stress
  • Lacking good quality time with a senior loved one
  • And much more

If you are experiencing feelings of family caregiver guilt, taking these actions can be extremely liberating:

  1. Acknowledge your feelings of guilt and also the specific reason behind it; for instance, “I am feeling guilty because I was impatient with Dad’s repetitive questions.”
  2. Keep a realistic point of view, understanding that all family caregivers are dealing with challenges. We are all human.
  3. Exchange your internal “should have” statements with a more encouraging slant: “It is challenging to respond to the same questions repeatedly, and I am doing the best that I am able to.”
  4. Shift your focus to a positive outcome. Remind yourself of the joke you shared that made Mom chuckle this morning, or how much she liked the dinner you prepared.
  5. Be sure to set aside routine time for calming, pleasurable and gratifying activities: engaging in favorite hobbies and interests, journaling, socializing with friends, family and pets, etc.
  6. Adhere to a healthier lifestyle that includes nutritious foods, aiming for 7 – 8 hours of sleep every night, exercising, giving up smoking and limiting alcohol consumption.
  7. Find a support partner. To be the best family caregiver you can be requires ongoing, scheduled breaks from care to take care of your own needs.

Contact Nightingale Homecare at (602) 504-1555 for personalized senior care in Paradise Valley, Peoria, Sun City, and throughout the surrounding areas that allows family caregivers time to relax and unwind, an important aspect of effective elder care. We’re available according to your required schedule and routine, with as much or as little ongoing support as needed, up through around-the-clock care. Remember that taking the best care of yourself helps you to provide the best care for the person you love, and we are always on hand to help!