Serving as a caregiver for an aging loved one can be a rewarding and life-changing positive experience. But there will also be days when you feel impatient, frustrated and guilty. Guilt comes about when we do, say or think something that we know is wrong. For example, when you’re taking care of an at-home senior you may perceive you’re not spending enough quality time with them. Or conversely, no matter how hard you try, their health just seems to get worse. If left unchecked, caregiver guilt can eat you up inside. It can also cause serious health problems like anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and insomnia. Coping mechanisms to overcome guilt are needed before you reach that point. The good news is that there are several proven methods available.
Sources of Caregiver Guilt
Caregiver guilt comes from numerous sources, including these:
- Not showing enough attention to your spouse and/or children
- Feeling bad because you took some “me” time off
- Getting impatient or even angry towards the care recipient
- Their health is not improving in-spite-of all the attention you’re giving them (“rescue syndrome”)
- You feel tired and unable to keep up with your own household duties
- You’re starting to resent the one you’re caring for and have thoughts of your life being better by placing them in a nursing home
- Not investing more time taking care of your aging loved one
- Resenting your siblings because they aren’t doing their “fair share”
If you can relate to one or more of these, you are suffering from caregiver guilt. Again, that guilt can fester inside and push your mind and body to the breaking point if you’re not careful. Fortunately, there are several effective ways to overcome caregiver guilt before it takes you over.