Taking on a caregiving role for an elderly parent or another loved one can be a big challenge. It’s not your full-time job, so you have to balance other aspects of your life with this new role. Another problem that many caregivers face is the feeling of guilt. Let’s take a look at caregiver guilt and what you can do to overcome it.
What is caregiver guilt?
Guilt as a caregiver can come from many different angles. You might feel like you’re not doing enough or not spending enough time with your elderly parent. Or, at the other end of the scale, you might feel like you’re neglecting other areas of your life like your own family and kids because of all the time you’re spending caring for your parent. If you eventually decide to move your parent into a care facility, or even if the thought crosses your mind from time to time, this can be another big source of caregiver guilt.
How to cope with caregiver guilt
You may not be able to avoid feelings of guilt as a caregiver, but there are ways you can manage these feelings so that they don’t continue to affect you. Here are some tips to help you through caregiver guilt…
Acknowledge the guilt – Don’t push your feels down. Instead, acknowledge that you are feeling guilty and try to identify where these feelings are coming from. Are they rational or are you being too hard on yourself?
Be kind to yourself – Imagine a friend came to you with the same problem you’re facing now. How would you respond to their fears? You’d likely be compassionate and understanding. You’d reassure them and help them see the bright side. Try to speak to yourself as if you were a friend.
Remind yourself that you’re doing the best you can – You’re not a professional caregiver and you’re only human, so you can’t be there for your loved one 24/7 and you’re bound to make mistakes at times. The important thing is that you’re still there for you’re loved one and you are trying your best to care for them.
Ask for help – You don’t have to shoulder the burden all on your own. If you’re struggling or becoming overwhelmed by your duties, talk to a friend, family member, or neighbor. They might be able to help you out from time to time. And don’t forget that professional care, respite care, and senior living are always there as an option if it becomes too much for you.
If you need support when looking after a loved one, get in touch with us to find out more about our care services and assisted living care.