When you are the primary caregiver for an aging loved one it is easy to become overwhelmed and burned out. Just because you are providing care for a senior loved one does not mean that you don’t have your own life separate from this caregiving relationship to manage. You may have your own children, a marriage, a career and valued past times that you find yourself often neglecting because of your compulsion to be constantly available for your aging loved one. One of the main senior care issues that impacts family caregivers is referred to as “caregiver guilt”, and is the feeling of guilt that occurs when you aren’t spending every moment caring for an aging loved one.
Caregiver guilt is difficult for anyone who provides senior care for an aging loved one. Whether your aging loved one lives in your home or you go to their home to provide care, it is easy to feel as though you are not doing enough or that asking for help would be assigned that you don’t love your aging loved one enough. When you begin feeling these things, it is critical the remind yourself that you are only one person and that you must continue to take care of yourself while you’re also taking care of your aging loved one. This means asking for help when you need it. Senior home services can offer you an incredible amount of help when you need time to take care of yourself.
Hiring a senior care provider does not mean that this person needs to be in the home all day or even every day. You can hire senior home services that will come to the home as little as a few hours every week to give you a break and take care of some of the senior care responsibilities so you are able to take care of yourself and other responsibilities. While this may increase your caregiver guilt, it is important that you consistently remind yourself that you are doing what is best for your aging loved one not just by ensuring that he is well taken care of when you are not available, but also by taking care of yourselves that you can be the best caregiver you possibly can.
Another way to cope with caregiver guilt is by participating in a senior care support group. Senior care referral services can connect you with the support group in your area so you can create a network of encouragement with those that understand what you are going through. This support group will help you to confront your caregiver guilt and rationalize your feelings so that you are able to honestly express your frustration, depression and even anger that is sometimes related to providing ongoing care for a senior, and receive support and encouragement from people who will not judge you and will help you to feel more confident in your role as a caregiver, but also as a person.