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Multiple Roles: Handling the Guilt

By  Helen Hunter, ACSW, CMSW

(Page 3 of 3)

With older people living longer, many adult children are faced with the prospect of being a caregiver for a significant number of years. It is important for adult children to recognize that, in many cases, they will never satisfy or completely fulfill their obligations to their parents, no matter how hard they try. Many try to seek parental approval by giving up all their other needs and responsibilities to care for that parent before that parent dies. For many, there are unresolved issues between the two generations that adult children feel can be cured by becoming the main caregiver, to make up for the past. These unresolved issues will, eventually, get in the way of the adequate provision of care on a long-term basis. Recognize that fact, with the help of a professional or through a support group, and come to terms with this issue with your parent. Letting others provide care for an older relative without feeling guilty can be a starting point in the new relationship between the two of you and can be the saving grace in keeping your own life in balance.


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