Coping with Guilt About Your Care Decisions

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Caregivers in Leesburg VA

Caregivers in Leesburg VAWhen you first started your role as your parent’s family caregiver, you were likely prepared for the possibility of stress. You likely heard about caregiver stress and the challenges that that stress can put on your life and your health. You might have even prepared by putting measures into place to help you to handle that stress and keep your mental and emotional health in check as you moved through your care journey with your aging parent. What you might not have been ready to face was the possibility of caregiver guilt.

Caregiver guilt is not uncommon but it can be extremely difficult on the people it affects. When you suffer from guilt about your care decisions you do not feel as though you are fulfilling your responsibilities properly, feel strained in everything that you do, and may struggle to find meaning in the efforts that you put forth. This can be detrimental for your mental, emotional, and physical health, and can also negatively impact your ability to be the best quality caregiver possible for your elderly loved one.

Use these tips to help you cope with guilt about your care decisions:

• Remind yourself why you started caring for your parent. Take the time to recall exactly what motivated you to take on the role of being your parent’s family caregiver. Remind yourself about the particular challenges that your parent was facing and why you thought it was important for you to step in and help them. When you can remember this clearly, evaluate whether the care decisions that you have made have fulfilled that motivation. If you find that they are, you can peace of mind knowing that you are doing what is right for your loved one.

• Consider their desires. Is your guilt stemming from the fact that you do not know if your loved one agrees with your decisions, or if they would rather have another form of care? Take the time to talk to your loved one about their desires as pertain to their care and compare those desires to your efforts. You might find that there are ways that you can adjust your efforts, but you just as easily might find that their desires are unrealistic or not good for their needs. Knowing that you are doing what is truly right for them while also respecting their desires as much as possible is important to easing guilt and giving you confidence as a caregiver.

• Give yourself permission to care about yourself. For many family caregivers, a primary source of guilt is feeling as though they are not doing enough for their aging adult. You might feel like you are not with them enough or they might complain when you do not spend what they think is enough time with them. It is important to remember, though, that you continue to have a life outside of your care efforts even when you step into the role of being a family caregiver. This means that you still have your children, your partner, your career, your friends, your interests, and yourself to think of. Give yourself permission to take care of your yourself and your needs in addition to those of your aging parent.

If you or an aging loved one are considering caregivers in Leesburg, VA please contact the caring staff at Assisting Hands today. (703) 982-0050.