The role of Family Caregiver can be rewarding and can serve as a time to connect on a deeper level with your senior loved one. Caring for their needs can develop a new dynamic in your relationship. While you may experience long hours of hard and frustrating work, it may be an overall positive experience.
All of this takes place, however, when caregiver guilt does not prevent you from setting healthy boundaries and saying no to responsibilities that are too much.
As your senior loved one ages, they may become more and more self-focused. Their activities may be limited, which can lead to an increased level of attention on their comfort and well-being. They may increasingly encroach on your time in their pursuit of more attention being directed at them.
In order to avoid feeling conflicted about saying no, you must take steps to prevent the development of caregiver guilt.
Take time to evaluate the priorities in your life and determine where caregiving fits with those priorities. If your career is important to you or you are married, you will need to think about how to balance these other important roles with the role of caregiver.
Set up a family meeting to discuss the needs of your loved one and how they may be met. Discuss openly what you are willing to help with and where you need someone else to take on responsibility. Be clear about other areas of your life that are also important, such as your job or your spouse and children so that it will not surprise others when you are unable to help in certain areas.
Get Comfortable With No
Saying no may be difficult at first, because of your relationship with your loved one and a personal sense of responsibility for their wellbeing. However, you will be a more effective caregiver if you are not distracted by resentment and frustration, which can complicate your relationship with your loved one.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
If you have taken on too much and are experiencing caregiver guilt when you think about giving up some responsibility, talking with a professional therapist may help you. A trained counselor can give you an outlet to express your feelings and then help you develop a plan to make some changes.
Watch for Positive Changes
When you begin to say no and protect your boundaries, you may be surprised by the changes that occur. Your loved one will benefit from the time spent with additional caregivers. The caregivers will benefit from caring for your loved one. You may experience a renewed commitment and energy for caring for your loved one when feelings of caregiver guilt do not consume you.
If you are struggling with caregiver guilt, please contact Freudenthal Home Health. We can help! Freudenthal Home Health is here to assist you with setting healthy boundaries and finding ways to spread responsibilities over multiple caregivers.