While family caregivers must deal with a range of emotions that are attached to their duties, guilt is one of the more common feelings. Guilt is a painful feeling that can cause a lot of mental stress, which then causes the deterioration of physical health.
Why Is There So Much Guilt with Family Caregiving?
Caregiving takes up a lot of time and energy. Because the aging adult cannot do many things on their own, they must have help from others with even the most basic tasks like bathing, dressing, meal preparation, housekeeping, laundry, and running errands.
All this responsibility makes it difficult for family caregivers to devote attention to their own needs. It’s very easy for family caregivers to believe that their needs are insignificant, especially when compared to an elderly relative with an illness or disability.
Ways to Eliminate Guilt as a Family Caregiver.
It takes some time and practice for family caregivers to understand that they will be a more effective caregiver when they are mentally and physically healthy. An aging loved one needs a strong and caring advocate, not a burned-out servant.
For family caregivers to have some time away from their aging relative and focus on their own needs, they often hire a home care provider. These professionals are trained in how to best care for aging adults. They can assist in grooming, hygiene, bathing, cleaning, and cooking whenever the family caregiver needs them. When they set up a regular schedule for the home care provider to come over, the family caregiver can benefit from much-needed respite care.
Here are some examples of how incorporating home care providers into a caregiving situation can alleviate guilty feelings and turn negative thoughts into positive ones:
- “Instead of feeling bad about being away from Mom for a few hours to run errands, I can feel comfortable knowing that a professional home care provider is looking out for her.”
- “If I don’t get to the gym every other day, I won’t be as healthy and strong as I need to be to take care of Uncle James. That’s what I’ll do when the home care provider comes in the mornings.”
- “Even though Dad told me he doesn’t want a home care provider over a few days per week, he actually surprised me when he told me they talk about sports the whole time.”
- “I feel bad that Aunt Laura can’t drive anymore but having a home care provider take her on errands is the next best thing and much safer for her.”
Guilt doesn’t have to be a part of a healthy family caregiver’s life and hiring a home care provider is one of the best ways that family caregivers can balance everything that is required of them and improve their health and wellness.