Most people are juggling a lot of balls these days, and caregivers often feel like they’re juggling knives and flaming swords on top of it. It’s only natural to become overwhelmed and experience feelings of guilt when you’re responsible for the care of a loved one, whether that person is a parent, spouse or other relative.
Guilt can come in many forms. Maybe you feel like you’re spending too little time with your loved one. You may feel guilty about considering an assisted living facility for your loved one. You could feel guilty because your loved one’s dementia-fueled repetitions made you snap. Or the feelings of guilt stem from your feelings that you’re neglecting your own children in order to care for your mother or father.
Try to keep this statement in mind: As a family caregiver, you’re doing your very best, and it’s fine to seek help.
Let’s take a closer look at that statement. First: You’re doing the best you can. You most likely agree, but do you believe it? When the guilt starts to creep in, remind yourself:
- I am doing the best I can.
- My loved one appreciates me, even if he or she can’t or won’t say so.
- Mistakes will happen.
- I can’t control or fix the past, but I can control how I feel about it.
- I am doing enough. Try putting these affirmations on Post-Its and placing in several areas of the house, such as on the refrigerator or inside the medicine cabinet.
If there’s a particular statement you really like, use the calendar app on your cell phone to schedule it as a daily reminder.
Second: It’s okay to seek help, whether it’s professional help through Best Senior Home Care, or help from relatives, friends, or your loved one’s friends.
Let’s begin with your loved one’s network of friends. We’ve all heard from well-meaning friends, “Let me know if there’s anything I can do.” But how often do we follow up and ask? Your mother’s friends from the neighborhood probably would love to help, but they might hold back if they fear stepping on your toes. Contact them and ask for specific assistance. “Could you come visit with Mom every Wednesday for an hour?” You’ll likely be surprised at how willing people are to pitch in — they just need to know what you need.
Siblings and other relatives living nearby may also just need to be asked. Remember, if you can receive help for even a few small weekly tasks, you will feel less overwhelmed. Maybe Uncle Joe can take Dad to his weekly physical therapy session, or Cousin Amanda can accompany Grandma to church.
If siblings and other relatives live far away, ask them to handle tasks that can be done over the phone or online. Need to research a list of adult day care facilities? Try to figure out the most cost-effective pharmacy for your parent’s prescriptions? Delegate those tasks.
Your best option, however, may be seeking the help of a professional in-home care agency like Best Senior Home Care. We can assist with services such as:
- Meal planning and preparation
- Regular respite care
- Transportation to appointments, shopping and events
- Light housekeeping
- Specialized care for persons with dementia
- Connections to community resources and caregiver support groups
Best Senior Home Care can be a partner with you as you walk this caregiving journey with your loved one. Our professional home care staff can provide your loved one with companionship while assisting with daily tasks like hygiene, medication management, and laundry. Our kind, caring professionals will make sure your loved one gets the help he or she needs. See what our Fresh Meadows home health aid or Flushing home health aid is all about. If you’re a family caregiver in need of a little support, call us at 718-224-0905 to see how we can help.