Don’t suffer because of common caregiving misconceptions
When talking with families who are caring 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 that we impose upon ourselves.
We explain how 3 common myths influence our thinking and add to our stress as well as why they’re simply not true.
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 should always do more, work harder, and spend more time with them.
Truth: The care that you’re providing is wonderful and is the best that you can do. Don’t destroy yourself to provide an “ideal” level of care that most likely isn’t realistic.
To be a great caregiver and not suffer health-damaging consequences, it’s important to balance your own needs with that of your older adult.
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 great caregiver, my older adult 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 typically 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 made the wrong choice 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, it’s not fair or realistic to 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 happen.
A great way to learn from experience is to join a caregiver support group. You can get valuable advice from people who have already gone through similar situations.
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:
- 7 Ways of Dealing with Caregiver Guilt That Improve Health
- Caring for the Caregiver: 6 Ways to Get Help and Improve Your Health
- 4 Sources of Affordable Counseling Services to Reduce Caregiver Stress
By DailyCaring Editorial Team
Image: Aegle Physic