Regardless of timing and circumstances, many caregivers find their role to be stressful and challenging. At Artis Senior Living, we want to normalize the complicated feelings that come along with caring for a loved one and help you manage the guilt and stress associated with it. These 5 tips will help you reframe your guilty feelings and approach the caregiving role with compassion and understanding both for yourself and your loved one.
1. Take a Break
Self-care is a popular phrase these days and for good reason. The truth is that the best caregivers are those who extend care to themselves first. If you are unable to find the time and energy to take care of yourself, you will probably struggle to provide care for others. It may feel awkward or even counterintuitive at first, but taking care of yourself is the first and most important step toward becoming a present and engaged caregiver. Whether you like to exercise, spend time with friends, soak in a hot bath, or enjoy a quiet night at home, you will find that you have more space for your loved one if you take a little time for yourself.
2. Stay Connected
If your feelings of guilt stem from your inability to be with your loved one as often as you’d like, there are a variety of ways to stay connected. Photographs can be excellent reminders of happy family memories. Songs are also closely tied to memory. If there’s a band or musician you love to listen to together, make a CD for your loved one that includes all your favorite songs. In this way, you can keep in touch even when you can’t be there physically.
3. Trust the Team
Sometimes, it can be tough to remember that caregiving is not a solo activity. No one can care for an aging loved one alone. Share the responsibility with the team at Artis Senior Living. Our senior living professionals undergo extensive training in order to provide the best and most up-to-date care for your loved one. We utilize best practices to ensure that each of our residents receives respectful and individualized support. By trusting our team of professionals, you can allow yourself the time and space you need to relax and recharge.
4. Maintain Balance
While it may feel uncomfortable to enjoy yourself while your loved one is going through a difficult time, it’s important to stay engaged with your own life as well. Maintain your routine as much as possible, explore your favorite hobbies, or make time for new ones. That way, when you do spend time with your loved one, you will not only have more to talk about but more energy to stay connected and engaged.
5. Keep in Touch
Reach out to friends and family and share your struggles and concerns with these people you trust. Create a support network for yourself where you can be honest and truthful about your experience. You can also refer to local resources in your community for support. By acknowledging your feelings of guilt, you are taking the first step toward moving beyond them.
Take a look at the Artis Senior Living blogs for more information about helping a loved one who has dementia or another memory care disease.