How You Can Help Yourself When You are Feeling Unappreciated as a Family Caregiver

Depression and burnout can occur when family caregivers feel unappreciated.

From the moment you woke up this morning up until the end of an exhausting day, you’ve given your all to an older loved one. You provided help with showering and dressing, prepared delicious meals, cleaned the house, all while making certain the senior loved one was happily involved in enjoyable activities, made it to their 3:00 hair appointment, and picked up groceries and prescriptions afterwards. And even though you are not doing any of these things for a pat on the back, a simple “thank you” would be nice – but is seldom offered.

If you are feeling unappreciated as a family caregiver, you’re not the only one. This is definitely a frequent occurrence in caregiving for a variety of reasons, and if not addressed, it can cause caregiver depression or burnout. These recommendations can help.

  1. Try to understand their perspective. There are a number of reasons a senior loved one may not be expressing gratitude for the work you’re doing. Someone with dementia or another chronic condition may be entirely focused on their particular struggles or even the day-to-day tasks close at hand which are now more challenging. Putting yourself in the other person’s shoes will allow you to accept that the lack of verbal appreciation does not automatically equate to true ungratefulness.
  2. Learn the skill of self-appreciation. The work you are doing is incredibly important, and you deserve to be rewarded for it. Choose something each week that you’re going to do for yourself for a job done well. It could be as simple as an hour spent reading on the porch swing or a dessert from your favorite bakery. You can also plan for larger rewards, for example, a weekend getaway, by engaging respite care services from a reliable care partner like Golden Harmony Home Care.
  3. Start modeling appreciative behavior. Let the senior see by example how nice it feels to be appreciated by genuinely thanking them whenever you can, regardless of how small. When they fold and hang up the towel after their bath, clean off the table after dinner, or help with putting away groceries – be sure to thank them.

We are always here to share in your caregiving duties, to ease stress and allow you ample time for self-care. Regularly scheduled time away is a must, and we’re here for just as much or as little as you’ll need. While you’re taking care of yourself, we will help a senior you love with:

If you’re feeling underappreciated as a family caregiver, contact Golden Harmony Home Care for a free in-home consultation, and let us know exactly how we can help with in home care services in Cary, NC and throughout the area.