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Dealing with Caregiver Guilt

By Malika Brown, MSW, LSW

(Page 1 of 2)

Caregivers often carry around undeserved guilt, believing that  they aren’t doing enough for their loved ones. This guilt can make the caregiving role even more stressful than it already is. One might ask why a caregiver feels guilty when they’re doing such a courageous job. Here are some reasons:

  • Resentment for personal time lost – It’s normal to feel like you’re missing something when so much of your time is taken up taking care of someone else. The caregiver thinks that they shouldn’t feel this way.

  • Unresolved issues – Many times, there are issues stemming from childhood or arguments in the past that hinder the caregiving process. Many caregivers feel guilty about this.

  • Comparing yourself to others – Some caregivers will look at another caregiver and think that they could never accomplish what that other person did.

  • Knowing placement is inevitable – There can be tremendous guilt involved when a caregiver has to place their loved one in assisted living or a nursing home.

  • Dealing with your own issues – You may be dealing with personal or health problems yourself, which takes away from your caretaking responsibilities.

Ways to Cope with Caregiver Guilt 

  • Acknowledge the guilt – It’s normal to feel guilt from time to time. Once it’s recognized, we are better able to deal with it.

  • Look at the bigger picture – Although you may be stressed with a particular situation now, it will not last forever. Look at the sacrifices you make for your loved one and realize that you are doing a great job.

  • Accept that you’re human and have flaws – All of us make mistakes from time to time. Some of us may be good at the physical aspects of caregiving, while others may be better able to handle the emotional toll. Recognize your strengths and don’t focus on the negative.

 

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