Don’t suffer because of common misconceptions
When we talk with families who care for older adults, we hear a lot about caregiver guilt, stress, and angst. Many of these negative feelings are caused by misguided, but common, beliefs we impose upon ourselves.
Avoid the bad feelings caused by these 3 popular myths. You’ve got enough to manage without the added stress!
Myth #1 No matter how much I’m doing or how hard I’m trying, it’s not enough.
What we tell ourselves: I’ve got to care for my older adult during every second that I’m not doing something else mandatory – going to work, caring for kids, etc. I can always do more, work harder, and spend more time with them.
Truth: The care that you provide is wonderful. Don’t destroy yourself to provide an “ideal” level of care that isn’t even realistic.
To be a great caregiver and not suffer life-threatening consequences, you need to balance your own needs with that of your senior. If they need more care than you alone can provide, get help from your caregiving team and don’t feel guilty about taking time for self-care.
Myth #2 If my older adult continues to decline, it’s because I’m not doing a good job.
What we tell ourselves: If I was a really good caregiver, my senior would keep getting better, physically and mentally.
Truth: Yes, there are situations where older adults can make some physical or mental improvements. But continuous improvement isn’t realistic simply because they’re aging. Also, many seniors have serious progressive health conditions. These are things that no amount of care can stop or reverse.
Myth #3 I should have known to make a different decision.
What we tell ourselves: Things aren’t going well right now. It’s because of that choice I had to make. I chose wrong and this is all my fault. I should have known better.
Truth: Nobody can see into the future and know what will happen because of choices they had to make. You made a decision based on what you knew at the time and made the best choice you could. If things don’t turn out well, please don’t beat yourself up for not being able to see into the future.
The most you can do to avoid a regrettable decision is to learn as much as you can and try to prepare for what might come. A great way to learn from experience is from a caregiver support group. That’s where you can get valuable advice from people who have been there and done that.
It’s important to do research and try to prepare, but remember that you can’t plan for everything or predict the outcome of major decisions. Regularly remind yourself that you’re doing your best and that nobody can control everything or know the future.
Recommended for you:
— 10 Stress Relief Tips for Caregivers [Infographic]
— Stress Relief for Caregivers: Free App Helps You Relax in 2 Minutes
— Q & A: I Went to a Caregiver Support Group, But Didn’t Like It. Now What?
By DailyCaring Editorial Team
Image: Dr. Kluane Spake