If there’s one thing every caregiver can relate to, it’s guilt. No matter how much time and effort we devote to caring for a senior loved one, somehow it never quite seems to be enough, leaving us feeling as if we should have done more, shown more compassion, been more patient. And if we don’t appropriately deal with the guilt, it can eat away at us, leaving us with feelings of deep remorse and diminishing our self-worth.
For instance, a typical scenario might look like this: you wake up, hurry to get the kids ready for school, toss in a load of laundry and start to get your senior loved one ready to start the day. You get her settled in for breakfast and mentally review your overloaded to-do list for the day, when your family member states that she would like waffles today instead of the toast and oatmeal you’ve fixed; would that be a problem? Feeling agitated at this additional chore, regardless of how small, causes you to snap back at her with an unkind remark.
While you instantly realize you’ve overreacted, the harm has been done. You see a tear in the senior’s eye, and immediately apologize and offer her the requested breakfast change and a hug. And although the senior has moved on from the experience and is contentedly enjoying her meal, the feelings of regret settle deeper into your core, making it hard to forgive yourself and forget about the mistake.
And yet letting go of caregiver guilt is so important, both for the caregiver herself and the older adult for whom she’s providing care. Try these tips from Enhanced Home Care’s experts in providing the specialized dementia care Kansas City families trust:
- Remain realistic. Understand that we’re all human, and it’s to be expected that we’ll all make mistakes. There’s no such thing as a perfect caregiver. Remind yourself of the countless positive ways you’re enhancing quality of life for your senior loved one, and then forgive yourself and learn from any mistakes made along the way.
- Take care of you. It’s a lot easier to lose patience when we’re worn out, and let’s be honest: caring for a senior loved one demands a lot of time and energy, leaving little time for self-care. Make it a priority to carve out time for yourself to rest, relax and recharge with enjoyable activities, get plenty of sleep, and maintain a healthy diet.
- Seek support. Whether through an online caregiver support group, a few close friends or family members, or a professional counselor, it’s critical for caregivers to find an outlet to share their feelings with those who will understand and offer needed support.
One of the best ways to achieve a healthy life balance and the best possible care for a senior loved one is by partnering with a professional home care agency like Enhanced Home Care. Our respite care services allow family caregivers to take a much needed break while knowing their loved one is receiving the highest quality care.
Let us walk beside you through your senior care journey and find a greater level of peace of mind and enjoyment in life! Contact Enhanced Home Care, the top providers of trusted dementia care Kansas City families need, by calling 913-327-0000.