When your parent or another elderly loved one becomes unable to take care of themselves, you may have issues with guilt . . .
Caregivers often feel like others think they don’t do enough . . .
And with time, they can also feel they never do enough.
Guilt is useful when it’s generated from a real fault. And when it’s acted upon to correct course.
Typically caregiver guilt comes from what others might think about what you do.
When you’re a primary caregiver for a loved one, you life revolves around care for them. It can be overwhelming.
And impossible to do if you feel you have to do it perfectly . . .
Too often part of being a caregiver for a loved one is feeling like you have to do the job flawlessly. Anything less you may see as a failure.
With time, the “perfect” caregiver can’t meet that ideal. And begins to crumble under the stress of being perfect.
Hey, no one is perfect! That’s part of being human.
Perhaps you’re feeling selfish because you wish for a few moments to yourself.
You find a few moments, and what happens? Your thoughts immediately turn to your loved one who you imagine is sitting sad . . .all alone . . .or worse.
You just know something has gone terribly wrong since you left!
Of course it’s not true, but the guilt is there . . .staking its claim. And it’s very common in elder care for loved ones.
No one can go without stopping. Okay, maybe in “TeeVee Land” the Energizer bunny. Remember he’s the only one!
Caregivers need breaks and help.
Feeling guilty only adds stress . . .and can lead to stress-related illness.
And when you get sick, you’re not available to help your loved one. Which of course adds to your guilt, creating a downward spiral of stress, guilt and sickness.
So how can you recognize and get rid of guilt?
- Create a rotating system of care so you don’t have to give care alone.
- Know that you are doing your best . . .and that’s all you can do.
- Don’t feel guilty about something you have no control over.
- Recognize and speak to the guilt! Go ahead call it out and tell it to go away. You may feel silly at first, but speaking directly to negative feelings can stop them in their tracks.
- Know that you deserve to feel good without guilt. Distract yourself with something constructive when guilt shows up. Knit . . .go for a walk . . .meditate . . .laugh at a funny movie . . .
When you became a caregiver you unselfishly offered your services to another.
Stop guilt from depriving you of much needed support and time away from giving care.
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Caregiving With Purpose
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