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Dealing with Caregiver Guilt

Dealing with Caregiver Guilt

It is an honorable decision when family members volunteer as caregivers for their aging or sick loved ones. If you are doing this for your elderly parent or family member, we have nothing but the highest respect for you.

However, many factors are attached to the role of caregiving, and a huge spotlight is focused mostly on the physical aspect which involves personal care, meal preparation, medication reminders, transportation, visiting the doctor for scheduled check-ups, and others. Unfortunately, very little attention is directed towards the emotional side of caregiving.

More often than not, family members feel guilty when they think they should be doing more as caregivers. It happens when we fall short of our own expectations like when we can’t serve meals on time, lose our cool when doing repetitive tasks, or forget to pick up medications from the pharmacy. These things may seem trivial but small mishaps can accumulate into feelings of guilt. This debilitating guilt eats at our emotional stability and causes undue stress — eventually, it affects our physical health too.

If you are facing a similar situation in your own household, it’s time to take a close enough look at caregiver guilt and deal with it. Here are a few tips from our home care agency in Silver Spring, Maryland:

  1. Small mistakes can become your motivation to improve.
    Don’t expect so much from yourself, especially in the first few weeks of your caregiving duties. Just like a new job, your role as a caregiver requires some adjustment. You also need to acknowledge that any mistakes made were not done on purpose. The important thing is that you stay mindful as you figure out a way to avoid them in the future.
  2. It’s okay to rest sometimes.
    It may feel like you’re obligated to spend every waking hour with your loved one. However, you need to recognize your own needs too. Take note that you have to be well-rested to stay healthy. Don’t feel bad if you want to set aside time for going out with friends once a week or pampering yourself with a nice long bath in the evening. When you allot time to rest and recharge, you won’t dwell on your guilt as much. These small breaks can make a big impact for you to stay emotionally sound.
  3. Delegate your tasks.
    When it comes to a point that your caregiving tasks have become too overwhelming, it may be time to consider getting help from a home care agency in Silver Spring, Maryland. The extra help from professionals should lighten your load. This also promotes a better quality of care for your loved one.

When we put the needs of our loved ones before our own, it only shows how much we love them. So, carry on with your role as a family caregiver, but don’t ignore your need for self-care in the process. Harboring guilt is toxic and it can never lead to anything good. There are many ways to address caregiver guilt, but we hope that the three tips we shared are worth considering.

Apart from home care and Respite Care, American Caregivers, Inc. is also a State of Maryland Medicaid programs provider. We are a recognized Autism Service Provider in Maryland with programs in Community First Choice and Intensive Individual Support. If you’re interested in these services, please give us a call.

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