When you agreed to take on the role of being a family caregiver for your aging parents, it is likely that you were prepared for some level of stress. You likely knew that those caring for senior adults are at higher risk of experiencing stress and the consequences that can come from stress, and may have even prepared yourself by putting into place a coping mechanism to help you to reduce the risk of stress and to manage it if it arrived. What you might not have expected, was caregiver guilt. Often considered an element of caregiver stress, guilt occurs when you do not feel as though you are doing everything you can for your parent, or that you are making the wrong decisions. This can be detrimental to your mental and emotional health and well-being, as well as the quality of care that you give your senior. Being able to recognize when you are experiencing this stress enables you to take a step back, evaluate yourself and your care efforts, and make changes to help you cope with the guilt and continue to take care of yourself and your parents in the best ways possible.
Some signs that you may be experiencing caregiver guilt include:
- Feeling as though you are not doing enough for your aging parent, no matter how much you are doing for them.
- Feeling as though you are not with your aging parent as frequently as you should be.
- Frequently questioning the decisions that you have made for your senior, even if you truly believe that it is the right thing.
- Feeling that nothing that you do for your parent is good enough, or that you are failing in your caregiver role, no matter how much you are doing for them or how well they are responding to the care.
- Constantly wanting to do more for your parents, or to prove yourself as a caregiver to your parents and to others.
- Feeling bad when you accept help or not being able to concentrate on other things when you know that your parent is under the care of someone else.
- Feeling as though your parent should never be alone or should never have to take on their own care tasks.
- Frequently comparing yourself to others who care for their parents.
Starting senior care for your aging parent can be one of the best decisions that you can make for them during the course of your caregiver journey. A senior home care services provider can be with your aging parent on a customized schedule to ensure that they get the care, support, assistance, and encouragement that they need in order to live the highest quality of life possible as they age in place. The highly personalized services of an in-home senior care services provider are specifically tailored toward your parent as an individual, meaning that they will get the care that is right for them to support a lifestyle that is as healthy, safe, comfortable, independent, and active as possible throughout their later years. As a family caregiver, this can give you tremendous sense of peace of mind knowing that your parent is in the best hands both when you are with them and when you are not.