Painful feelings are a natural consequence of caregiving. When caregivers experience guilt, they shouldn’t react by dwelling on their feelings of shame or by bottling up their emotions. Here are five tips for caregivers who want to manage their guilt in productive ways.
1. Face the Guilt Head On
Caregivers often neglect their own emotional needs. Keeping emotions bottled up is never a good idea, as they’ll eventually rise to the forefront and make their presence known. Don’t try to deny your feelings of guilt. Instead, recognize these feelings and try to find their source so you can prevent negative emotions from bubbling over at inopportune times.
Caring for a senior loved one and assisting him or her with daily tasks can be overwhelming at times. However, the challenges of caregiving don’t have to be faced alone. Families who need help caring for a senior loved one can turn to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of Birmingham, Alabama, home care. Services available in our customizable care plans include meal prep, mental and social stimulation, assistance with personal hygiene tasks, and much more.
2. Use Guilt as a Roadmap
Oftentimes, caregiver guilt is a sign that personal needs aren’t being met. Guilt is caused by a disparity between the “ideal self” and the “actual self.” The “ideal self” may be a perfect caregiver who never raises his or her voice and is always ten minutes early for appointments. The “actual self” may be a loving caregiver who sometimes makes mistakes. When you come to terms with the perceived failings that are causing your guilt, you can also come to terms with the changes you need to make. These changes might be related to your caregiving methods. Perhaps you need to create a better time management system. On the other hand, guilt might be an indicator that you need to take a step back. You might come to understand that you’re not falling short of your ideals because you need to do more, but because you need to do less. In these situations, ask family and friends for help.
3. Meet Personal Needs
When caregivers feel guilty about their perceived inadequacies, it’s not always limited to caregiving. Oftentimes, guilt is an expression of dissatisfaction. If you are experiencing too many negative emotions, it may be a sign you need to set aside time each day to tend to your own needs. When caregivers feel emotionally fulfilled, they can manage negative emotions and thoughts.
Consider hiring a professional caregiver if you need a break from your caregiving duties to meet your personal needs. Find out how a Birmingham, Alabama, caregiver can help your senior loved one enjoy a higher quality of life by reaching out to Home Care Assistance. All of our professional respite and live-in caregivers are trained in comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, Parkinson’s, and stroke care, and they can also assist seniors with basic daily tasks like exercise, cooking, bathing, and light housekeeping.
4. Talk About It
Caregivers don’t have to manage their guilt by themselves. You should always feel free to talk about your negative emotions with friends and family. Talking about guilt can be a major relief to caregivers who don’t have an outlet for their emotions.
5. Take Steps to Avoid Outbursts
Anger is another common cause of caregiver guilt. After caregivers get angry or frustrated with their loved one, they feel guilty because their loved one isn’t responsible for his or her condition. This can become a self-perpetuating cycle. You get angry, feel guilty about it, and the emotions keep building. Eventually, you may notice your temper getting worse, and you may have a harder time controlling your emotions. To break out of this cycle, be on the lookout for situations that trigger negative emotions. If you can establish why and when you get angry, you can remove yourself from triggering situations.
Hiring professional caregivers is one of the best ways family members can delegate caregiving duties to others and keep guilt and other negative emotions at bay. Birmingham respite care professionals can assist seniors with a wide array of daily tasks, offering family caregivers the chance to focus on other personal responsibilities or take a break to prevent burnout. Whether it’s for a few hours a day or a few days a week, respite care is the perfect solution for family caregivers who are feeling overwhelmed. To hire a professionally trained caregiver for your senior loved one, call Home Care Assistance at (205) 438-6927 today.