Guilt: it’s one thing every caregiver can relate to. No matter how much hard work we invest in providing care for a senior loved one, somehow it doesn’t ever seem to be enough, leaving us feeling as though we could have done more, shown more kindness, been more patient. And if we don’t effectively address the guilt, it can eat away at us, leaving us with feelings of regret and diminishing our self-worth.
Guilt can strike unexpectedly in an everyday circumstance like this: you wake up, hurry to get the kids to school, throw in a load of laundry and begin 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 her toast with peanut butter instead of butter and jelly today; would you mind fixing her another slice? Feeling irritated at this extra task, no matter how small, causes you to snap back at her with an unkind remark.
Although you instantly realize you’ve overreacted, the damage has been done. You observe a tear in the senior’s eye, and immediately apologize and offer her the requested breakfast change and a hug. And while the senior has moved on from the incident and is contentedly enjoying her breakfast, the feelings of remorse settle deeper into your core, making it hard to forgive yourself and get over the mistake.
And yet letting go of caregiver guilt is so critical, both for the caregiver herself and the person for whom she’s providing care. Try these tips from Compassionate Nursing Services’ experts in providing the St. Louis home health care families trust:
- Be realistic. Realize that we’re all human, and we all make mistakes. There’s no such thing as a perfect caregiver. Remind yourself of the many beneficial ways you’re improving quality of life for your senior loved one, and then forgive yourself and learn from your mistakes.
- Take care of you. It’s so much easier to lose patience when we’re worn out, and let’s face it: the life of a senior caregiver calls for a lot of time and energy, leaving little opportunity for self-care. Make it a priority to set aside time for yourself to rest, relax and recharge with enjoyable activities, get plenty of sleep, and follow a healthy diet.
- Seek out support. Whether through an online caregiver support group, several close friends or family members, or a professional therapist, it’s very important for caregivers to find an outlet to share their feelings with those who will understand and offer needed support.
One especially helpful way 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 Compassionate Nursing Services. Our respite care services allow family members a much needed break while having the assurance that their loved one is receiving the highest quality care.
Let us walk beside you through your care journey and realize a greater level of peace of mind and enjoyment in life! Contact Compassionate Nursing Services, the top providers of trusted St. Louis home health care families need, by calling 314-432-4312.