How to Let Go of Caregiver Guilt

Family caregivers give a great deal of themselves to care for their loved ones, often surrendering their own individual desires and needs during the process. It seems natural to assume then that caregivers would feel good about themselves, rich in self-esteem and sense of purpose.

Yet the exact opposite is oftentimes true, with many family care providers struggling with feelings of guilt, wishing they had more patience, a remedy for all of their senior loved ones’ problems, or perhaps the power to accomplish everything on their own without the need for assistance. They may have set unrealistic and unattainable standards that may result in:

  • Resentment
  • Feeling trapped
  • Not feeling good enough
  • Wanting to get away
  • Lack of joy in life
  • Elevated stress
  • Missing out on high quality time with your senior loved one
  • And more

Let go of caregiver guilt by taking these steps which can be extremely freeing:

  1. Admit your feelings of guilt and also the particular reason behind it; as an example, “I feel guilty because I became impatient with Dad’s repetitive questions.”
  2. Keep a realistic perspective, knowing that all family caregivers are having to deal with challenges. We’re all human.
  3. Change your internal “should have” dialogues to a more positive slant: “It’s hard to respond to exactly the same questions over and over again, and I’m doing the best that I can.”
  4. Switch your focus to a positive outcome. Remind yourself of the joke you told that made Dad smile this afternoon, or how much he appreciated the lunch you prepared.
  5. Make sure to put aside plenty of time for calming, pleasurable and rewarding activities: engaging in favorite pastimes and hobbies, journaling, spending time with family, friends and pets, etc.
  6. Follow a healthy and balanced lifestyle that includes healthy eating, aiming for 7 – 8 hours of sleep every night, exercising, quitting smoking and limiting alcohol consumption.
  7. Find a support partner. To be the best family caregiver you can be calls for routine, regular breaks from care assistance to take care of yourself.

Call SeniorCorp at 757-640-0557 for dependable home care services in Norfolk and the surrounding areas which allow family caregivers time to destress and unwind, a needed component to effective senior care. We are available based on your desired schedule and routine, with as much or as little ongoing support as needed, up through around-the-clock care. Remember that taking the best care of yourself allows you to provide the best care assistance for the person you love, and we are always here to help! For a full list of all of the communities we serve, please visit our Service Area page.