Tag: Caregiver needs

Adult son with aging mother

Managing Caregiver Guilt

Unfortunately, guilt is a common and persistent emotion for many, if not most family caregivers, even when they are literally devoting their lives to doing everything they can for the loved one they are caring for. And that caregiver guilt can continue even after a loved one dies. A friend of mine, who lost her mother to Alzheimer’s early in 2019, advised me, “I still struggle with guilt from what I didn’t do for my Mom and Dad. It’s a long list. It’s painful. Be kind to yourself.” Sometimes guilt comes from what we did and how we did it. Sometimes it’s more like survivor guilt from being able to function physically and/or cognitively in ways that our loved one no longer can. As my husband moves through early-stage Alzheimer’s, I feel guilt for not being patient enough, kind enough, understanding enough of him and what he’s going through. When a loved one is in the early stages of needing our help, no matter what the reason, it’s often hard for us and them to know when help is needed and how to come up with a plan that is acceptable to everyone. “Don’t aim for guilt-free caregiving,” Barry J. Jacobs advises in an AARP article, Caregivers: Living With Guilt, “The feeling that we should do more and better for one another seems to be built into our species as a group survival mechanism. Guilt is part of who we are. So that discrepancy between what you think you should do and what you’re willing and able to do may always cause some guilt. Let’s accept that as a given, then, and work on tempering the feeling.” Jacob’s article focuses on how to come to terms with feelings of caregiver guilt, and instead feel more pride for being the hard-working, well-meaning

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