Caring for elderly parents as well as their own family many aging baby boomers find they are stressed and dealing with guilt. Overcoming caregiver stress and the guilt feelings that often accompanies the role of one person taking care of another is possible.
Guilt is a feeling of perceived failure. This failure may come in the form of expectations we set for ourselves or what we perceive are the expectations that others have set for us. Our response to these feelings of perceived failure affects our decisions and our actions. Guilt, in any form is detrimental to any relationship.
When caring for another individual, guilt presents itself to us on many different levels. Along with guilty feelings, there are feelings of anger, frustration, resentment and sadness. Many individuals torment themselves with unrealistic expectations and worry trying to anticipate every possible need.
Others find themselves dealing with the disappointment and frustration of uninvolved and uninterested siblings or extended family members Still others find guilt stemming from sadness and fear of losing someone very close to them. They second guess themselves into believing that if they had paid attention sooner, or did something different their aging senior’s condition would be different. What ever the reasons for guilt, they take away from all the good a care giver does.
Guilt can mentally and emotionally imprison a person into making poor decisions or becoming totally immobilized to make any decision. Some individuals are more inclined to feel guilty than others. Learning to manage guilt is imperative for the physical and emotional well being of the care giver as well as the aging senior that are providing care.
Six tips for dealing with guilt and overcoming caregiver stress
- The first step to overcoming guilt is to acknowledge that is a feeling you are experiencing. There are many other feelings that go along with guilt such as sadness, anger, frustration and resentment. If you can acknowledge that you are having these feelings, you can begin to see things from a different perspective. If you have identified and acknowledged you have these negative feelings, take time to identify what is causing you to have these feelings. Are you angry and resentful that you siblings do not pitch in and offer assistance? Do you feel that your life is not your own? Are you afraid that you are losing someone close to you? Maybe you feel guilty because you wish you did not have to care for the aging seniors in your life. Many feel that they cannot do enough to or are the opposite and resentful that they have to do anything at all.
- Have you considered your needs and wants? This is a very important step for every care giver to realize. The caregiver needs are just as important as the person for which they are providing care and support. Caregivers feel guilty that they have needs. Many feel that their needs are not as important as their aging senior. This thought can be a big culprit and be the root cause of dealing with guilt and caregiver stress.
- A care giver must come to realize and accept that unless they take care of themselves and take action to meet their own needs, eventually they become ineffective as a care giver.
- Learn to be kind and patient with yourself. You are going to have your good days and your bad days. Allow yourself to feel the negative feelings. Realize that your feelings do not have to control your actions. With practice, over time, the guilt feelings will subside.
- Acknowledge you have needs and take action to get those needs met. It is OK to have some “me” time. In fact it is necessary. Give yourself permission to be selfish at times.
- Ask for help from others or accept help when it is offered. If you have uninvolved siblings investigate other avenues through the local church, community program or aging and adult services. Explore options to get some free time.
Aging baby boomers caring for elderly parents must realize that guilt is an emotion that comes with the role of caregiver. Dealing with guilt and overcoming caregiver can be accomplished by taking time to meet your own needs. Caregivers need to focus on the good that they achieve everyday and the improved quality of life they bring to the aging senior in their life. With this perspective guilt will never be an issue. montreal home care service