“How could I have said that?”
“It’s all my fault!”
“If I just had more patience…”
As a family caregiver, perhaps these and other thoughts like them run through your mind on a daily basis. Caregiver guilt is extremely common for those providing care for an aging loved one, as we second-guess ourselves and our ability to meet the person’s needs while simultaneously meeting all of the other needs around us – in our career, with our children and spouse, around the home, etc.
The Phoenix home care team at Nightingale Homecare wants to help family members break the cycle of caregiver guilt. Following are some of the top guilt-inducing thoughts, and how to turn them around to allow caregivers to be easier on themselves, reduce stress levels, and appreciate the fact that they’re providing a magnificent, priceless service for their senior loved one.
- I’m not doing enough! No matter how much time and energy are expended in caring for a senior loved one, family members often feel as though they could be doing more, and that every spare moment should be devoted to focusing on their loved one’s needs. It’s important to set expectations that are reasonable, and to understand that taking care of yourself is just as crucial as caring for your loved one. Caregiver burnout is a reality for many, and can lead to dangerous health conditions, both physical and emotional. Be sure to set aside plenty of unstructured time to simply relax and enjoy favorite pastimes and hobbies, especially those that are calming and personally fulfilling.
- If I did a better job, my loved one would be happier and healthier! Seeing decline in a senior loved one is difficult, and it’s easy for family members to take responsibility; as though if they were truly providing the best care, they’d see positive changes in their loved one’s condition. The reality is that a number of conditions of aging are progressive, and what the person may benefit from more than anything is simply your comforting presence.
- I should have known better! Providing care for a loved one means that sometimes we’re going to make good choices, and other times we’ll make mistakes. It is through these mistakes that we learn and grow, so viewing them as an experience that will help provide better care in the days to come can help stop negative thinking and guilt in their tracks.
One of the best ways for family members to overcome caregiver guilt is by partnering with a reputable in-home care agency, such as Nightingale Homecare. Sharing the responsibility of care with a skilled, experienced, compassionate caregiver allows family members to spend more quality time with their loved ones, and to take much-needed time away to rest and recharge – which in turn enables them to provide a higher quality and safer level of care.
We’d love to talk with you about your particular needs and how, working together, we can ensure your loved one receives the very best possible level of care. Contact us at (602) 504-1555 and let us know how we can help!