As much as you might want to have a perfect relationship with your aging family member, the past and the present might not support that. It’s still possible to be a caregiver, but you might have some extra emotional work on your hands.
This Is Difficult
Before you try to fix or to resolve anything, acknowledge to yourself that this is not an easy situation you’re in. You’re going to make mistakes, you’re going to feel imperfect, and both of those facts are okay. Life doesn’t always go the way we want it to go and that can be deeply unfortunate. What you’re trying to do now is to be the best caregiver that you can be, given the circumstances you’re facing.
Make Peace with the Past, if You Can
Some situations may not have been ideal in the past, but they may be ones that you can work through now. If it’s possible at all, do what you can to make peace with what happened before. Your family member may not have cared for you in the ways that she should have or could have, but that was a different situation. If you’re able to give yourself closure, try to do so.
Work Through Your Feelings
You may not be able to let go completely of the past and that’s okay, too. You will, however, need to work through your feelings if you’re planning to continue to be your senior’s caregiver. Therapy can help, as can journaling what you’re feeling. What’s important is that you find the solution that works the best for you, because it’s not optional for you to get your feelings in order.
Find a Caregiver Support Group
Another tool that can help a great deal is to find a caregiver support group. This type of situation is way more common than you might have realized. As people go through their lives, they do the best that they can. From your perspective, your senior could have done a lot better by you and maybe by others. Talking to other caregivers who are also dealing with the same thing can help you to keep your situation in perspective.
Just because this is a difficult situation for you that doesn’t mean you’re a bad caregiver. You’re doing the best that you can to make this situation safe and helpful for your senior and for yourself. That’s what being a caregiver is all about.