Caregiving to a sick loved one can be a 24/4 affair. You may feel a sense of satisfaction knowing you can provide the kind of support they need. But sometimes, your dedication to caregiving can already be ruining your health and happiness.
There are millions of people considered to be unpaid caregivers to their sick loved ones. The numbers only continue to rise each year. The sad thing is, many caregivers face caregiving challenges aside from financial struggles.
Caregiver Guilt: The Emotional Side of Caregiving
Many caregivers feel guilty about many things. They feel like they lack in many departments that could have helped their sick loved on recover faster. Some even feel like they are at fault for their loved one’s sickness in the first place.
Other caregivers feel they are unable to fulfill their roles effectively. They start blaming themselves for being unable to be there 24/7, even if they have valid reasons to be absent. This makes them feel negative feelings such as self-doubt, ambivalence, resentment, anxiety, depression, irritability, and helplessness.
There can be many causes of caregiver guilt. The following can contribute to your feelings of guilt while caring for a sick loved one.
- Your relationships with other people are now suffering.
- Everyone relies on you to be the primary caregiver.
- You feel like you could have prevented the situation if you had paid more attention in the first place.
- You compare yourself with other caregivers.
- The loved one you are currently caring for is now having a hard time coping with their illness, and you feel you are not contributing much to his recovery.
Managing Caregiver Guilt
Many experts consider the guilt felt by caregivers to be self-imposed. We like to think negatively even if we are already doing a great job giving the best possible kind of care we can provide in our own ways. The good news is that you can do things to start coping with your guilt.
Don’t Deny Guilt
The monster that is eating away your happiness and your ability to cope is guilt. So, make sure you recognize guilt along with all the other emotions you are currently experiencing. Allow yourself to acknowledge guilt so that you can start having a new perspective.
Find Out the Cause
It is crucial that you look for the primary source of your guilt. Is it because of your unmet needs? Maybe it’s due to a mismatch between other people’s ideals and the kind of care you can provide?
Once you have identified your cause of guilt, it is time you try to be kinder to yourself and take action to solve your issues. Recognize that you too have your own needs you need to meet while caregiving to your loved one. Change your ideal by using available choices.
Let’s say your senior loved one was diagnosed with kidney disease and now requires frequent dialysis. Your source of guilt is that you cannot help them with their unique needs because you are also working full-time and are also caring for your family. As heavy as a decision it is to make, you need to consider taking them to a skilled nursing facility as an option.
These days, more skilled nursing facilities now offer on-site dialysis services. Their partnership with health providers who offer customized solutions for dialysis care management will give you peace of mind knowing your senior loved one will always get the kind of care they need during the most critical times. This way, you can reduce your guilt knowing you are putting your loved one in the hands of capable hands.
Asking the professionals for help is not a sign of weakness but undeniable strength. Many people would deny professional healthcare services because their guilt eats their conscience away. They believe taking their senior loved ones to such specialized facilities makes them less of a great caregiver.
Connect With Others
You need your own support system who will guide you to a better you during the hard times. So, connect with your loved ones and find someone you can trust. Make time for socialization and do things that make you happy with the company of a good friend.
Talk to them about your feelings and the challenges you are facing as a caregiver. Ask them to help you learn how to manage your time so you can juggle life and caregiving roles. They might be able to convince you to allow the pros to take care of your loved ones if you haven’t considered your other options just yet.
Caregiving takes time a huge amount of effort, time, and dedication. While your loved one could use your help, remember that the last thing they want is for you to be unhealthy and unhappy. Don’t take yourself for granted, even if you are managing other roles aside from caregiving. Learn when to ask for help and weigh in your options. Sometimes, the best way to care for your loved one is by letting the pros do it for you.