How to Change Your Inner Dialogue and Overcome Caregiver Guilt

An emoji symbolizes caregiver guilt.
Change your perspective and outlook with these tips to overcome caregiver guilt.

So many people are trying to juggle assorted commitments, and for family caregivers, it can feel a lot like trying to juggle flaming swords and knives. It’s natural for family members to become overwhelmed and to experience feelings of caregiver guilt when wanting to provide the best care for a member of the family.

Guilt can materialize in several forms. Maybe you’re feeling like you’re not spending enough quality time with the person in your care. You may be feeling guilty about contemplating a nursing home for a loved one. The guilt can arise after your loved one’s dementia-fueled repetitions caused you to snap. Or perhaps you feel like you’re not paying enough attention to your own children in order to care for an older loved one.

When caregiver guilt settles in, make an attempt to keep this declaration at the front of your mind: You are doing the best you can, and it’s ok to ask for help.

Let’s look a little more closely at that statement. First: You are doing your very best. You probably would agree, but do you really believe it? Reminding yourself about the following truths if you’re unsure may help:

  • I am doing the best that I can.
  • My family member values me, even if they can’t or refuse to say so.
  • Mistakes are likely to happen.
  • I cannot control or fix the past, but I can control my feelings about it.
  • I am doing enough.

It may even be useful to place these and other affirmations on sticky notes around the house, such as on the fridge or in the medicine cabinet. And if there is a particular statement that really helps you, utilize the calendar app on your phone to set it as a daily reminder.

Second: It is fine to ask for help, whether it’s professional help through Nightingale Homecare, or help from other relatives, your own friends, or your loved one’s friends.

Let’s start with your loved one’s friends. We’ve all heard from well-intentioned friends, “Let me know what I can do to help.” But do we ever follow through on their offer? Your older loved one’s friends in the neighborhood may hold back on helping in order to avoid stepping on your toes. Reach out to them and ask for specific help, like, “Would you come visit with Dad every Tuesday for a couple of hours?” You may be surprised to discover how willing people are to help out — they simply need to find out what you need.

Siblings as well as other family members who live close by may also just need to be asked. Remember, if you’re able to get help for even a few small tasks, you will definitely feel less overwhelmed. Maybe Aunt Sharon can take Mom to her weekly physical therapy appointment, or Cousin Robert can go with Grandpa to church.

If family members live at a considerable distance, ask them to help with tasks that can be taken care of over the phone or online, such as researching activities for seniors, or figuring out the most cost-effective drug store for the older adult’s medications.

The very best solution, however, is partnering with Nightingale Homecare for customized in-home care assistance. We are available to help with services such as:

  • Planning and preparing healthy meals
  • Ongoing respite care
  • Transportation to medical appointments and enjoyable outings
  • Light house cleaning services and laundry
  • Companionship for socialization through conversations, hobbies/interests, exercise, and more
  • Specialized care for individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or other chronic conditions
  • Private in-home nursing care and medical home health care services
  • And more

Nightingale Homecare is here to walk alongside you during your caregiving journey. Our caregiving professionals can help ensure an older adult you love is well cared for, providing you with essential time away for self-care. Contact Nightingale Homecare, serving Paradise Valley, Scottsdale, Phoenix, and the surrounding areas.  Call (602) 504-1555 for more information.