Hiring Professional Alzheimer's Care and Managing Caregiver Guilt
After being my mom's part-time caregiver for a few years, I was near the point of having a nervous breakdown. I decided that for my own mental health, I could no longer do it and I talked to my dad about hiring in-home, professional Alzheimer's care for my mom. It took some time to convince my dad to hire outside help. Then it took some more time to actually get the process started.
After a couple of months, we found the perfect caregiver for my mom and she was able to take over the role that I had previously filled.
Hiring professional Alzheimer's care
All along I had thought about how relieved I would feel once the professional Alzheimer's caregiver stepped in and took over. While I did feel some relief, I felt another familiar, yet somewhat unexpected feeling — guilt.
I felt guilty that I was allowing some stranger to take care of my own mother. I felt like it was wrong for me to allow someone else to do what I should have been doing. I felt ashamed that I had given up my role as my mom's caregiver.
Managing caregiver guilt
After a while, I got used to the idea and realized that it provided a great deal of relief. I learned to appreciate having the help, and am grateful it was even an option for us. If you are struggling with the idea of accepting outside care for your loved one, here are some tips that helped me manage the guilt.
Realize that you are doing what is best for your loved one's care
It is difficult but necessary to accept that you might not be the best person to provide care for your loved one. It takes an emotional toll on family members, which can prevent you from providing the best care possible. I had to admit to myself that someone else could probably do a better job than I was doing, especially if that person was a trained, professional caregiver.
Acknowledge the opportunities having outside care affords you
Having professional care for your loved one can allow you to step out of the caregiver role and back into the daughter, son, spouse, or other roles you previously filled before caregiver. It can allow you to appreciate the time you get to spend with your loved one more if you are able to just visit with them instead of caring for them.
Professional care can also allow you to take better care of yourself now that you have the time and space to do so. That self-care can help you show up with more love, patience, and empathy for your loved one instead of constantly feeling exhausted and burnt out when you are with them.
Be grateful that you are able to seek outside care
Many people are not able to hire professional Alzheimer's care for their loved one for various reasons. The fact that you are able to do so is a huge blessing. Imagine how much more difficult it would be without any help. Being able to seek outside care is a privilege and having gratitude for it can make it easier to accept.
Making proper care possible
The bottom line is that you should not feel guilty for not personally tending to your loved one's every need. As long as your loved one is receiving quality care, that is all that matters. And don't forget that you are the one who made that care possible in the first place.
Interested in more on progression and support through Alzheimer's? Check out Alzheimer's Progression: Support Through the Stages.
Does humor help you cope?