Practical Tips for Finding Freedom From Family Caregiver Guilt

A woman stands on a beach smiling as she releases feelings of family caregiver guilt.

Don’t let family caregiver guilt keep you from caring for yourself and others. Learn how to manage these feelings with tips from our experts.

Family caregivers give quite a lot of themselves to care for their loved ones, often leaving behind their own wants and needs in the process. It might seem normal, then, to presume that caregivers would feel very good about themselves, with a high level of self-esteem and sense of purpose.

However, the opposite may be more accurate. Family caregiver guilt is widespread and many family caregivers wish they possessed more patience, an answer for all of their older loved one’s problems, or the capability to take care of everything on their own without requiring any help. They may have set unachievable and unrealistic goals, which can result in:

  • Bitterness
  • Feeling trapped
  • Never feeling good enough
  • Wanting to get away
  • Lack of pleasure in life
  • Heightened stress
  • Lacking good quality time with a senior loved one
  • And more

If you are facing feelings of family caregiver guilt, taking these steps can be incredibly liberating:

  • Admit your feelings of guilt and pinpoint the specific reason causing it; as an example, “I am feeling guilty because I was impatient with Dad’s repeated questions.”
  • Keep a realistic point of view, knowing that all family caregivers are experiencing challenges. We are all human.
  • Replace your internal “should have” dialogues with a far more positive slant: It is challenging to respond to the same questions repeatedly, and I am doing the absolute best that I can.”
  • Change your focus to a positive result. Remind yourself of the joke you shared that made Mom laugh out loud this morning, or how much they loved the lunch you prepared.
  • Make sure to set aside regular time for soothing, fun, and gratifying activities: engaging in favorite hobbies and pastimes, journaling, socializing with friends, family, and pets, etc.
  • Stick to a healthier lifestyle which includes nutritious foods, striving for 7–8 hours of sleep every night, exercising, quitting smoking, and limiting alcohol consumption.
  • Find a support partner. To be the best family caregiver you can be requires ongoing, routine breaks from care to take care of yourself.

Get in touch with Harmony Home Health and Hospice at 1-877-I-NEED-CARE (1-877-463-3322) or reach out to us online for customized home health care in Tooele, Ogden, Albuquerque, and the surrounding communities in Central New Mexico and Northern Utah that allows family caregivers time to relax and unwind, an integral aspect of effective elder care. Keep in mind that taking the best care of yourself helps you to provide the best care for the senior you love, and we are always right here to help!