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Deciding to initiate support for a loved one can be a big step, and understandably a decision that takes careful consideration and time. Being the main care support for your loved one can be a full-time role, no matter how you are related; spouse, daughter, son, extended family or friend, which can come with many challenges and tests the strongest of relationships, changing dynamics and evolving the roles within that relationship.

As the caregiver, asking for support can be difficult and create emotional turmoil. Manifesting itself through guilt that is often unfounded and not healthy. However, you are only human as they say, and those emotions are very valid and completely normal given the circumstances. Among the care community this feeling is known quite simply as “carers guilt”.

Carers guilt

So why do we feel guilty?

It is not uncommon for caregivers to feel that they “should” be able to do everything to help their loved ones or that they could be doing more. That the effort and time they have put in is not good enough. That they should be able to cope and if they can’t then they are somehow letting their loved one down. Sometimes these feelings of guilt can be attributed to the vows made through marriage “in sickness and in health”. Or discussions and decisions made some years ago, concerning the desired support in older years and what route to ideally go down when faced with different life situations.

However, life does not always work out how we planned, and we can never truly know what will be best in each situation until we are in it. The world of caring support takes on many forms and can change daily and even hourly, making old decisions that once seemed so plausible, no longer realistic. But we hold onto these ideals because we are frightened of letting that person down.

Carers guilt can take on many different faces, both emotional and physical. We can feel upset and confused for feeling the way we do and angry that being the caregiver is impacting on our own lives and overall health. Feeling selfish for wanting some space and thinking those thoughts in the first place, which creates a cycle that can prevent us from seeking support when we really need it.

How ever you experience carers guilt, placing such high expectations on yourself to “do it all on your own” is enormously pressurised and ultimately unrealistic in the long term, and for the most part untenable because supporting someone is ever evolving, making it an unpredictable journey.

Moving forward, brighter days, enlisting help

For many supporting loved ones, it can be hard to let go of the reins and pass on some, or all the responsibility where care support is concerned for their loved ones. However, there really are some enormous positives that can truly benefit both parties’ long term.

Quality time spent together

Getting support, no matter how big or small, will be mean that you will have quality time with your loved one and you can enjoy each other’s company. It will give you the opportunity to focus on being in your original role as spouse, daughter, son or friend again. Rebuilding up that positive relationship.

Respite, a moment to yourself

There should be no guilt felt by using your time, to have a moment to yourself and step away. Unfortunately, many people feel guilty that they are being selfish by doing something for themselves or without their loved one. When those feelings arise, it is important to take a step back and give yourself permission to have a break. Not taking a break can lead to negative feelings such as anger, frustration and resentment, tiredness and anxiety, which in turn can lead to poor health and burnout.

However, you spend your time, be that getting some fresh air, meeting a friend for a cuppa, resuming a hobby or simply curling up and having a nap, try to remember that this time is for you. By having time we recharge our batteries, boost our resilience, reduce stress and improve our overall health and wellbeing. Absence as they say, “makes the heart grow stronger”, so by stepping away you are doing something positive towards your relationship.

Independence and relationship building for your loved one

Having another person to support your loved one means an opportunity to build a friendship. Putting support in place can help your loved one to regain confidence in their abilities, if these have been challenged through changing circumstances. It can combat loneliness and isolation if you live far away and are not able to support your loved one in a manner that you wish to do so.

Ultimately, we want to know that our loved one is happy, and if they are it allows you to live your life more peacefully just knowing that the support put in place has made all the difference. Remember, asking for help is not a defeat, it is a step forward with many positive benefits for everyone involved.

If you feel that you require some support or companionship for your loved one, The Bespoke Life can help. We offer a friendly companionship service.

Contact us on:
Telephone: 01242 431811

And we will be happy to assist you!