Some of the caregivers we know are tired. Weary, even. Bearing huge hearts and an enormous love for their parents, they spend hours every week at their family home, caring for their aging parents to ensure that they can stay in the home they love.
Some of these caregivers even travel for hours to spend a week (or more!) with their parents helping them around the house. Then they return to their other lives, bedraggled and exhausted.
And when they’re not spending time with their parents, they are burdened with incredible guilt for not being around.
All of this is admirable, in a way, but there’s a better, guilt-free path forward. Here are a few tips we’ve learned in our experience that we hope will help caregivers shed guilt and strike a balance between caring for their parents and the rest of their lives.
- First, it’s important simply to realize that you can’t be all things to all people. Know that you can’t be with your parents all the time, accept it, and focus on the things you can Your role as a caregiver is no less important simply for the fact that you are busy or live some distance away from your parents. It’s just a little different.
- Call your parents. It’s a simple, personal act that can remind both you and them how much you love each other. You’ll feel better, and your parents will appreciate it.
- Reach out to others who can help. Especially when you are a remote caregiver, there’s no way you can expect to care for your parents and fulfill your other responsibilities, too. Reach out to people in your parents’ community who can assist with regular caregiving tasks. You might not be there yourself, but you’ll still be providing for your parents, and they will appreciate it. If your parents are in Bellingham, Lynden or elsewhere in Whatcom County, feel free to give Take My Hand At Home Care a call to discuss options. A local licensed caregiver can be your eyes and ears on the ground, and it’s reassuring to know there someone is regularly checking in on your parents.
- If you’re struggling with hiring a caregiver because your parents are resistant to the idea, we completely understand! A lot of our clients have expressed the same fear. We’ve compiled a few tips to help you have “the talk” with your parents about hiring an in-home caregiver. For example: Teach trust. Remind your parents that they raised you to make wise choices, and that you have their best interests at heart.
- Take care of yourself. Guilt can drive us to overextend ourselves, and in the end, that’s not good for anybody. Maybe start with small steps like hiring a licensed caregiver to spend the night with your mom and dad so that you can get a good night’s rest.
Caregiving is a tough job. Doing it while weighed down by guilt is even tougher. Remember that there are always things you can do to make your parents’ lives better, even if you can’t always be around in person. Seeking support can not only help you feel that your parents are well-cared for, but it can also help you get rid of any pangs of guilt you might feel for not being around. Whether you’re at your parents’ house every day or not, you’re still a caregiver, and that’s an act of immense love for your parents.