So many of us are trying to juggle a number of different balls, and for caregivers, it can feel more like juggling knives and flaming swords. It’s natural for family members to become overwhelmed and to experience feelings of caregiver guilt when trying to provide the very best care for a loved one.
Guilt can manifest in many different forms. Maybe you’re feeling like you’re not spending enough time with your loved one. You may be feeling guilty about considering a nursing home for your loved one. The guilt could arise after your loved one’s dementia-fueled repetitions caused you to snap. Or maybe you feel like you’re neglecting your own children in order to care for your aging loved one.
When caregiver guilt creeps in, try to keep this statement in mind: You are doing your very best, and it’s ok to ask for help.
Let’s take a closer look at that sentence. First: You are doing your very best. You probably would agree, but do you really believe it? Reminding yourself of these truths if you’re unsure can help:
- I am doing the best I can.
- My loved one appreciates me, even if he/she can’t or refuses to say so.
- Mistakes are going 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 helpful to place these affirmations and others on Post-It notes and in several areas of the home, such as on the refrigerator or inside the medicine cabinet. And if there’s a particular statement that really speaks to you, use the calendar app on your phone to schedule it as a daily reminder.
Second: It’s ok to ask for help, whether it’s professional help through Stay Home Care, or help from other family members, your own friends, or your loved one’s friends.
Let’s start with your loved one’s friends. We’ve all heard from well-meaning friends, “Let me know if I can help.” But do we ever take them up on that offer? Your older loved one’s friends from the neighborhood would very likely love to help, but may hold back for fear of stepping on your toes. Call them and ask for specific help, such as, “Would you come visit with Mom every Tuesday for an hour?” You may be surprised to find out how willing people are to pitch in — they just need to know what you need.
Brothers/sisters and other family members living nearby may also just need to be asked. Remember, if you can get help for even a few small tasks, you will feel much less overwhelmed. Maybe Uncle Ralph can take Dad to his weekly physical therapy appointment, or Cousin Jessica can go with Grandma to church.
If family members live far away, you can ask them to help with tasks that can be taken care of over the phone or online, such as researching adult day care facilities, or figuring out the most cost-effective pharmacy for the senior’s prescriptions.
The best solution to caregiver guilt, however, may be partnering with Stay Home Care for professional in-home care assistance. We can help with services such as:
- Meal planning and preparation
- Ongoing respite care
- Transportation to appointments, shopping and fun outings
- Light housekeeping and laundry
- Specialized care for those with dementia
- And more
Stay Home Care is here to walk beside you through your caregiving journey. Our professional home care team can provide your loved one with friendly companionship while helping with tasks like personal hygiene, medication management, and household chores. Our compassionate, experienced professionals will help make sure your loved one has everything needed, allowing you the necessary time away for self-care. Contact Stay Home Care, the top providers of elderly home care in Nashville and the surrounding area, to learn more.