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INDEPENDENT AGING > AGING IN PLACE > AP 10

Caregiver Guilt

By: Jo-Ann Thibault, The Elder Insider LLC

I am neither a social worker nor a healthcare clinician.  But, through my many years working in the health care industry, working with clinicians, and most recently, being in front of hundreds of seniors and caregivers through my community seminars, I have recognized a common thread among most…. “Caregiver Guilt”.  

What is Caregiver Guilt?

Something that can break the caregiver of a loved one – physically and psychologically.   The Caregiver gives everything, and succumbs to every call, demand, and wish to their loved one they are caring for – no matter what. Even if they know it is not necessary – and it is affecting their life and their family’s lives.

How to recognize? Do you feel….?

  • Overwhelmed
  • Sadness
  • Frustration
  • Anger
  • Resentment
  • Isolation
  • Loss
  • Fear
  • Grief
  • Anxiety
  • Drained
  • Guilt

 

During this time, you may also feel

  • Devotion
  • Love
  • Gratitude
  • Obligation
  • Satisfaction that you are taking care of your loved one

 

Caregiver Road Blocks

  • I have to take care of ____ I’m the only one who can deal with them.
  • Mom/Dad won’t allow anyone else to help them!
  • I don’t know where to start to look for help.
  • I don’t want strangers in my home.
  • I don’t TRUST anyone to do the right thing.
  • I really CAN do this on my own!
  • I don’t think we can afford help.
  • My siblings won’t allow it!

 

Step #1 – Address your Road Blocks: Is this really what is going on?  Or is it “Caregiver Guilt”?

Step #2 – Identify and understand your loved ones illness/disease and NEEDS: Make a list of physical and psychological needs and tasks that your loved one requires.

Step #3 – Circle the needs/tasks that you are currently doing that are overwhelming and/or interfering with your family/work life.


Ask for Help

Asking for help is not easy.  Here are a few tips to get you started. 

  1. According to the list of physical and psychological needs you wrote down, you can now identify where it is you can use support.
  2. Seek professional financial and legal advice – you need to know where you are financially, before seeking outside assistance.

  • Talk to your financial advisor about safe, financial options to help
  • Long-term care insurance
  • Reverse Mortgage
  • Protecting assets from nursing home
  • How to pay for long-term care
  • Advance Directives

  • Power of attorney
  • Health care proxy
  • Wills / trusts
  • Estate planning

Resources

  • Community – Local Council on Aging / Senior Centers
  • In-Home Care:  Elder Services – Aging Service Access Points – The Executive Office of Elder Affairs: https://800ageinfo.com
  • Private Pay Home Care
  • Adult Day Health Programs
  • Assisted Living Communities
  • Elder Care Consultants – Geriatric Care Managers; http://www.caremanager.org/

Accept changes as they occur

  • Realize that as your loved one’s disease/illness progresses, so will their care needs.
  • Become aware of community resources to assist you with these changes.
  • Do NOT aim for perfection - Give yourself CREDIT – NOT GUILT!

 

I do, and have always, recommend professional clinical consultation for those who need it.   For more resources in your area, click on our RESOURCE PAGE.

 

By: Jo-Ann Thibault – The Elder Insider, LLC