Joel’s elderly mother was failing. He spent hours every week as her caregiver, but still never felt like it was enough. He tried to visit her every Saturday to help with household chores, like cleaning her house or doing her laundry. Sometimes, though, he found it hard to get there. When he couldn’t make it, he inevitably felt guilty. Yet, when he did go, he felt guilty about missing out on time spent with his wife and children.
For many caregivers, guilt is a constant companion. They feel guilty about the decisions they make, things they aren’t able to do, and the time they spend or don’t spend on caregiver duties.
You may never get rid of caregiver guilt completely, but there are ways you can deal with it. Below are some tips.
Forgive Yourself for Mistakes
You’re going to make mistakes sometimes. Everyone does. Don’t waste your time or energy beating yourself up when you do. Instead, forgive yourself and move on.
If you find yourself being guilted into doing things you don’t want to do or don’t have time for, it can help to set some boundaries. Tell your aging relative when you are available to help them and that you will take care of their needs then. Ask that they respect your schedule and contact homecare services providers who are available when you are not. Once you’ve set boundaries, stick to them. If you don’t, they’ll mean nothing, and people will continue to push them.
Don’t Spread Yourself Too Thin
When you work so hard that you’re exhausted, you’re more likely to lose your patience and snap. If you snap at your aging relative, you may feel guilty about it. By taking care of yourself, you’ll feel better overall and more equipped to handle even the most trying days. Be sure to eat a healthy diet, see your doctor for regular appointments, make time to exercise, and get enough sleep.
Recognize the Normalcy of Negative Feelings
You know those people that others describe as “a ray of sunshine,” the ones who seem perpetually happy? Well, even they have negative feelings sometimes. So, if you’re not always thrilled to be a caregiver and you sometimes have angry thoughts, don’t believe there’s something wrong with you. There isn’t. You’re a normal human being with normal human emotions that run the gamut from joy to sadness to anger. And, it’s not unusual to feel all those things about being a caregiver.
If you or an aging loved one are considering Homecare Services in Fort Myers FL, call the caring staff at Dial-a-Nurse today. Naples: (239) 307-0033. Ft. Myers: (239) 307-0065.
In 1995 he became Administrator of Dial-a-Nurse nursing agency, the oldest nursing agency in the Southwest Florida succeeding his mother who started the company 37 years ago. He is also President of Nevco, Inc., an educational healthcare training company begun in 1988.
Mr. Wolfendale has worked with the U.S. Department of Commerce on various Missions to improve the quality of life around the world by development of supportive healthcare programs. In 2005 he traveled with U.S. officials and addressed the Italian National Government assisting in the creation of Nurse Education mandates for that Country. In 2006 he was invited and spoke with the National Institutes of Continuing Education in Eastern Europe on healthcare education and developmental mandates, and most recently represented the United States at the European Union in Lake Balaton, Hungary in 2011. In 2014 he traveled with the U.S. Department of State to Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam in an effort to improve caregiver knowledge and training.
Mr. Wolfendale has worked with a number of non-profits in contributing and creating curriculum to improve the quality of life in third-world countries since 2001, and notably created a successful program in Odessa, India that has been modeled in other areas of the world. In his backyard, he has worked with local Goodwill Industries to provide curriculum and training to underserved individuals who have obtained employment as a result of educational training. He was the Congressional appointment to the Governor's purple ribbon task force in 2013, and has worked to educate caregivers in all aspects of Alzheimer's training.
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