Most people are juggling a lot of balls these days, and family members providing in-home care services for a loved one often feel like they’re juggling knives and flaming swords on top of it. It’s normal to experience feelings of being overwhelmed and guilty with all the responsibilities involved with caring for a loved one, whether that person is your spouse, your parent, or someone else.
Guilt can be experienced in many forms. Maybe you feel like you’re not spending enough time with your loved one. You may experience guilt if you’re thinking about an assisted living facility for your loved one. Maybe you feel guilty because your loved one’s dementia-driven repetitions caused you to snap. Or you could feel guilty about neglecting your own children’s needs in order to care for your senior loved one.
The most important things to keep in mind are: You’re doing the very best you can, and it’s perfectly normal to seek assistance.
Let’s take a closer look at that statement. First: You’re doing the best you can. You’d probably agree with that, but do you believe it? When you first experience feelings of guilt, remind yourself:
- I am doing the best I can.
- My loved one appreciates me, even if he or she can’t or won’t say so.
- Mistakes will happen.
- I can’t control or fix the past, but I can control how I feel about it.
- I am doing enough.
Consider posting these affirmations on notes around the house, perhaps on the refrigerator or inside a cabinet you access often. Or use the calendar app on your cell phone to schedule affirmations as a daily pop-up reminder.
Second: It’s okay to seek help, through a trusted in-home care company like Live Well at Home, or from relatives, friends, or your loved one’s friends.
Let’s start with your loved one’s network of friends. So many people will say, “Let me know if there’s anything I can do.” But how often do we follow up and ask? Your mother’s friends probably do want to help, but may be holding back because they don’t want to step on your toes. Contact them and ask for specific assistance. “Can you come sit with Mom every Thursday for one hour?” You will probably be surprised by how willing people are to help you — they just need to know what you need.
Siblings and other relatives living in close proximity to the senior might also just need to be asked. Remember, if you can receive help for even a few small weekly tasks, you will feel less overwhelmed. Maybe Aunt Sue can take Dad to his weekly physical therapy appointment, or Cousin Joe can take Grandma along to church.
If siblings and other relatives live far away, ask them to handle tasks that can be done over the phone or online. Have them research a list of adult day care facilities, or have them look for the most affordable pharmacy option for your parent’s prescriptions.
You can also enlist the assistance of a trusted in-home care agency such as Live Well at Home. Live Well at Home can assist with in-home care services such as:
- Meal planning and preparation
- Regular respite care
- Transportation to appointments, shopping and events
- Light housekeeping
- Specialized care for persons with dementia
- Connections to community resources and caregiver support groups
Live Well at Home can be a partner with you as you walk this caregiving journey with your loved one. Our professional home care staff can provide your loved one with companionship while assisting with daily tasks like hygiene, medication management, and laundry. Our kind, caring professionals will make sure your loved one gets the help he or she needs. Call us any time at 916-459-3220 to learn more.