My aha moment for this week’s blog came from reading a blog from my good friend Mike O’Krent of Life Stories Alive entitled “What’s right about being wrong”. It got me thinking about all the mistakes we make along the way as caregivers and how we need to forgive ourselves.
Caregiving is a compassionate and selfless act, however, like any relationship, caregiving has its ups and downs. Mistakes and missteps can happen, leading to feelings of guilt, frustration, and even resentment. While caring for my father one mistake that stands out is being late picking him up for a doctor’s appointment. It was my own fault for losing track of time and then doing a California stop which resulted in being pulled over, making me even more late. He found his own way to the doctors which layered on even more guilt. Everything worked out and he forgave me, but it was still a cringe worthy moment for me.
The key to maintaining a healthy caregiving relationship is to acknowledge these mistakes and find ways to move past them. For me I had to remind myself to manage my time better and move on. Here are a few tips for overcoming mistakes and strengthening your bond.
Recognize that mistakes are inevitable – No one is perfect, we all make mistakes. It’s how we handle them that matters.
Practice open communication – Own your mistakes and address concerns. Candid communication is appreciated and is an opportunity to share feelings, which will lead to deeper understanding.
Give yourself a break – Don’t be too hard on yourself. Caregiving is demanding, and the emotional toll is significant. Self-compassion is vital to your well-being and your ability to provide quality care.
Learn from your mistakes – Take this opportunity to improve your systems and grow as a caregiver. Don’t forget to ask for help and seek advice.
Be realistic – You can’t do it all! Trying to be perfect will lead to frustration and disappointment, for both of you. Set achievable goals and adapt as needed. Flexibility is a crucial aspect of caregiving.
Apologize and forgive – When you make a mistake apologize sincerely. This will go a long way towards mending any hurts. And don’t forget to forgive; it will allow you to move forward and focus on the positives.
Caregiving is not without its difficulties. No one plans to be a caregiver so mistakes will happen (although if you put your “10 Steps to Organized Caregiving” plan in place you will mitigate many difficulties). Remember that what truly matters is the love, care, and dedication you provide to the person you are caring for. In the end that’s all that matters.