Overcoming Feelings of Family Caregiver Guilt

happy woman on beach in the wind
An important part of being a caregiver is taking time for self-care, returning to the role well-rested after needed respite.

Family caregivers give so much of themselves to look after their loved ones, frequently surrendering their own needs throughout the journey. One might presume that with such a rewarding role, in home caregivers would feel good about themselves, rich in self-esteem and sense of purpose, but sometimes caregiver guilt can get the best of them.

Nevertheless, the reverse is often true, with many family caregivers struggling with feelings of caregiver guilt, wishing they had more patience, a remedy for all of their loved ones’ dilemmas, or the ability to accomplish everything by themselves without the need for assistance. They may have set unrealistic and unattainable standards, which often results in:

  • Bitterness
  • Feeling trapped
  • Never feeling good enough
  • Wanting to get away
  • Lack of joy in life
  • Elevated stress
  • Missing out on quality time with the loved one
  • And more

If you have encountered feelings of caregiver guilt, taking these actions can be extraordinarily freeing:

  1. Admit your feelings of guilt and also the specific cause of it; as an example, “I feel guilty because I became impatient with Dad’s repetitive questions.”
  2. Keep a reasonable perspective, understanding that all family caregivers are struggling with challenges. We are all human.
  3. Replace your internal “should have” dialogues with a more positive perspective: It is difficult to answer the exact same questions over and over again, and I am doing the best that I’m able to.”
  4. Switch your focus to a positive achievement. Remind yourself of the joke you told that made Dad chuckle this afternoon, or just how much he enjoyed the dinner you prepared.
  5. Be sure to put aside enough time for calming, pleasurable and gratifying activities: engaging in favorite pastimes and hobbies, journaling, spending time with friends, family and pets, etc.
  6. Follow a healthy and balanced lifestyle which includes healthy eating, striving for 7 – 8 hours of sleep every night, exercising, refraining from smoking and limiting alcohol consumption.
  7. Find a support partner. To be the best care provider you can be means regular, routine breaks from caregiving to take care of yourself.

Connect with Sage Home Care at 203-300-5070 for dependable respite care that allows family caregivers time to destress and unwind, an integral component to effective elder care. As one of the top home care agencies in Greenwich, CT and the surrounding areas, our highly-qualified in home caregivers are available to accommodate your schedule and routine, with as little or as much ongoing support as necessary, including around-the-clock care. Keep in mind that taking the best care of yourself allows you to provide the best care for the person you love, and we are always available to help.

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