I’m bad at this. I just get too frustrated. I’m not doing enough! For a family caregiver, thoughts like these can be constant. Family caregiving can be challenging. Too often, those caring for sick or aging loved ones focus on the ways in which they aren't doing the job perfectly rather than all the ways they are helping the person continue to live independently. This can lead to feelings of loneliness, isolation, and depression in the caregiver.
The fact is, family caregivers provide a truly valuable service to their loved ones, allowing them to age or recover in a place where they feel most comfortable: home. The key to removing doubt is to find strategies that allow you to change perspective and focus on the positives. The Florida care experts at American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care offer these tips to help you put your caregiving journey in a positive light.
- Be aware of negative self-talk. The first step to changing a negative outlook with your caregiving is to recognize when you are beating yourself up about it. Notice when you say or think things to and about yourself that are negative. For example, I missed Mom’s hair appointment. I’m so stupid. Or, Ugh. I snapped at Dad today. I’m a terrible daughter. It’s normal to have thoughts like these. Recognize that you are having them so that you can actively combat them.
- Resist giving in to negative thoughts. Once you’re aware of self-criticism, you can more easily recognize when you’re being too hard on yourself. When you begin to feel negative thoughts crop up, take a break and redirect your thoughts toward something more positive. Think of something that went right that day or an accomplishment you are proud of to help you remember that you’re actually doing better than you might think.
- Focus on what matters. Today, the house may be a mess. Dad may not have gotten to his doctor’s appointment right on time. Maybe you’ve had takeout three times this week. But do any of these things really matter? When we sweat the small things, it is hard to see the positive contributions we make. A messy house might mean you were more focused on spending quality time with your loved one. You may have been a little late to an appointment, but Dad still got seen by the doctor. Getting takeout means everyone got fed and you took one stressful item off your list.
- Try not to compare yourself with others. It can be easy to look at someone else and compare yourself to them. Perhaps a sibling spends a day with your mother and has a lovely time, while you’ve struggled all week with managing her care and your family’s needs. You may think, “Why is it so easy for her and so hard for me?” But these types of comparisons only make us feel bad about ourselves. Instead, focus on the things you’re doing right. This week may have been tough for you, but think about a time when you had a great day with Mom. Or maybe you’ve found a wonderful referred care provider, like those at American, Advocate, and Whitsyms In-Home Care, that both you and your mother like to help with your caregiving duties. Just remember that everyone is different and no one’s way of caring is better or worse than another’s.
- Find a support system. Caregiving, while rewarding, is stressful from time to time. Having a support system in place, whether it is a local caregiving support group, family and friends, or members of a faith community, can give you a space to vent frustrations, find solutions, and see things from a new perspective.
Additionally, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. Feeling overwhelmed when caring for a loved one is common, and it is okay to ask for help or take a break when you need it. The referred care providers from American, Advocate, and Whitsyms In-Home Care are a great support for family caregivers in need of respite or more in-depth care services for their loved ones. In-home care services may include transportation to and from medical appointments or fun outings, preparing nutritious meals, running errands, friendly companionship to offer motivation to stay active and engaged, and much more.
Contact us to learn more about how we can help you better manage your family caregiving duties and provide a senior you love with a better quality of life. Reach out to the office nearest you by clicking the links below to get started:
- American In-Home Care – Serving North, Central, and West Coast of Florida
- Advocate In-Home Care – Serving Southeast and Southwest Florida
- Whitsyms In-Home Care – Serving Southeast and Southwest Florida
State of Florida License and Registration Numbers: 30211518, 30211651, 30211295, 30211390, 30210978, 30211293, 30211382, 30211504, 30211733, 30211535, 30211531, 30211710, 30211709, 30211045, 5661