Caregiver Guilt: Insights on How to Cope with It
Being a caregiver can be a rewarding and sometimes overwhelming responsibility. It can also be an all-consuming task that can leave the caregiver feeling drained and burnt out. While they may need to take a break or make some time for themselves, the caregiver is often torn between the need to recharge and not wanting to leave their loved one in the care of someone else. The internal struggle can often lead to caregiver guilt. This can include emotions such as anger or resentment, as the caregiver feels they have no life of their own.
It is important that the caregiver acknowledges these feelings and accept them as being normal for the situation. It is crucial to their health and well-being, as well as the quality of their caregiving, that they find ways to deal with caregiver guilt and make time for themselves.
Caregiver guilt comes from feelings of being unable to control your situation. You may feel guilty for not spending enough time with your aging loved ones. As a result of that, you may start spending more time with them and less time with your significant other or children. This can lead to guilt from not spending enough time with your family. Lastly, you may feel guilty about having negative emotions stemming from your situation.
These feelings of guilt are completely normal. However, you can’t let them take over your state of mind. Holding onto caregiver guilt can easily lead to anxiety and depression. Learn to accept that you can’t control the situation you’re in. It’s not your fault that there isn’t more time in the day. Just know that your loved ones appreciate your hard work and let go of that guilt.
Worrying Too Much
Caregiver guilt is always accompanied with worry. Whether your loved one lives alone or with you, you worry about them. Thoughts of them being alone all day can cause concern that they are lonely, will forget to eat or even fall and hurt themselves. It can be a struggle to keep up with work or other daily responsibilities when caregiving.
It is vital that the caregiver accepts the fact that they can’t be everywhere and do everything at the same time. Keeping busy and focusing on the task at hand may distract you from the worry. Or, if the worry becomes too much, keep in contact with your loved one throughout the day. Reassurance that they are okay will go a long way to relieving some of your stress and caregiver guilt.
All of the guilt and constant worrying that comes from being a caregiver will build up, leaving you both mentally and physically exhausted. That’s just one aspect of your life, not to mention all of the daily responsibilities you have for taking care of yourself and your family. The added stress of being a caregiver can make everything in your life seem more difficult than it really is. You may feel like your life will always be an endless cycle of exhaustion. That’s why it’s very important for caregivers to give themselves a break.
When I was the primary caregiver for my mom, I would often have feelings of guilt. Coping with the guilt took a lot of self-talk. I would remind myself to replenish my energy and mental stamina so I could continue to be able to care for my mom, my children, my home, and my job. As I began to take more time for myself to recharge, I found that I actually had more to give to others. Once I saw this manifesting, I felt validated that my time spent away from my mom and the others I care for was a wise choice. Self-care for me includes blogging, reading, exercise, guided meditation and watching mindless TV. -Elizabeth Miller, Founder of Happy Healthy Caregiver
Adult Day Care Can Remedy Caregiver Guilt
Taking a break from the responsibilities of being a caregiver is essential for your mental and physical health. Sometimes all you need is a restful day to yourself in order to recharge your battery. Adult day care offers caregivers a chance to take the day off guilt-free, knowing that their loved ones are being cared for. You’re less likely to feel guilty taking a day for yourself if you know that your loved one is not sitting at home all alone.
At adult day care, seniors are able to take part in a variety of day care programs that will keep them happy and active all day long. They’ll stay physically active with activities like yoga, pilates, and restorative physical therapy sessions. Instead of being alone all day, your loved ones will be surrounded with people around their own age they can make genuine connections with. Making these connections and having daily activities is good for cognitive function and the mental health of seniors. They’ll feel happy because they have purpose in their life again.
This is how I overcame the feelings of failure when I took my father who lived with dementia to adult day care. I just could not stimulate him with enough activities. The staff and others made life FUN for him. And he felt he had a purpose while living with us. This was his job and he was helping contribute to our living expenses. Additionally, it gave me about six hours a day to accomplish my own work, which in a way was a form of respite. –Brenda Avadian, MA, The Caregiver’s Voice
Signature Senior Services provides medical adult care services in a safe and fun environment. Having your loved one attend adult day care can help relieve the caregiver guilt that you may be feeling. With a variety of different services, including activities and healthcare, you can rest assured that your loved ones are being taken care of. To find out how we can help you and your loved ones, contact us today.