Guilt is an emotion many family caregivers feel as they try to balance multiple roles including full-time employee, parent, friend, child and caregiver. For those who live far away from their aging loved ones, guilt can be particularly intense. As an advocate for family caregivers, we would like to share some tips to alleviate this potentially destructive emotion:
- Acknowledge and accept. It is important to note that it’s okay and actually quite normal to have these feelings.
- Set reasonable limits. Be realistic about what you can do and fill in the gaps by reaching out to other family members, friends or a professional in-home care agency. If another family member is functioning as the primary caregiver, offer support in any way you can, whether it be financially or emotionally.
- Foster your relationship. While you may not be able to visit your loved one in-person as much as you would like, technology can help you reduce that geographical gap. Set up regular phone calls, exchange emails, write letters or video chat sessions to share family news and maintain your relationship as a son or daughter, not just a caregiver.
- Utilize available support groups. Contact your loved one’s local Area Agency on Aging or religious organization for resources on community outreach and senior centers that can provide outside companionship, social stimulation and support. This will give you peace of mind and can supplement the care the primary caregiver is providing.
Don’t let guilt get in the way of precious, meaningful time with your loved one. For more information, contact me about various services that are available for providing respite care.