The Art of Letting Go of Guilt as a Family Caregiver

A sad emoji illustrates just how hard letting go of guilt can be for family caregivers.

Letting go of guilt can be incredibly freeing for family caregivers, allowing them to take better care of themselves and their loved ones.

A lot of us are attempting to juggle a variety of different duties, and for family caregivers, it can feel comparable to trying to juggle flaming swords and knives. It’s natural for family members to become inundated and to experience feelings of caregiver guilt when trying to provide the best care for a family member.

Guilt can appear in a variety of forms. Maybe you are feeling like you’re not spending enough time with a senior loved one. You may be feeling guilty about thinking about a nursing home for your loved one. The guilt may arise after your loved one’s dementia-related repetitions caused you to snap. Or maybe you feel like you’re not paying enough attention to your own children in in the process of caring for a senior family member.

Letting go of guilt can be hard, so when caregiver guilt sets in, try to keep this declaration in mind: You are doing your best, and it’s ok to request help.

Let’s look closer at that sentence. First: you are doing your very best. You probably would agree, but do you truly believe it? Reminding yourself about these truths if you’re not sure might help:

  • I am doing the best that I can.
  • My loved one appreciates me, even if they can’t or refuse to admit it.
  • Mistakes are likely to happen.
  • I cannot control or correct the past, but I can control how I feel about it.
  • I am doing enough.

It might even be beneficial to place these and other affirmations on sticky notes throughout the house, such as on the refrigerator or in the medicine cabinet. And if there is a particular statement that really speaks to you, make use of the calendar app on your phone to set it as a daily reminder.

Second: It’s fine to ask for help, whether it’s professional help from Harmony Home Health and Hospice, or help from other family members, your own friends, or your loved one’s friends.

Let’s start with your loved one’s friends. We’ve all heard from well-intentioned friends, “Let me know what I can help you with.” But do we ever follow through on their offer? Your older loved one’s friends in the neighborhood may refrain from helping so as not to step on your toes. Reach out to them and ask for specific help, like, “Would you come visit with Mom every Thursday for a couple of hours?” You might be surprised to discover how willing people are to help—they just need to find out what you need.

Siblings as well as other family members living in the area may also merely need to be asked. Bear in mind, if you’re able to get help for even a few small tasks, you will feel less overwhelmed. Maybe Aunt Edna can take Mom to her weekly physical therapy appointment, or Cousin Bob can go with Grandpa to church.

If family members live at a considerable distance, ask them to help with to-dos that can be taken care of over the phone or online, such as researching activities for seniors, or figuring out the most cost-effective drug store for the senior’s prescription medications.

The best solution, however, is partnering with Harmony Home Health and Hospice for professional home health care services. We are here to walk beside you during your caregiving journey. Our skilled care team can meet a wide range of needs specific to the challenges a senior is experiencing and make sure your loved one is well cared for, providing you with vital time away for self-care.

Contact Harmony Home Health and Hospice, the top-rated provider of home health care in Salt Lake City, Ogden, Albuquerque, and other communities Northern Utah and Central New Mexico, at 1-877-I-NEED-CARE (1-877-463-3322) for more information.