All of us in some ways that have elderly loved ones feel some type of guilt in not being there for them. We are torn between taking care of our own family and holding down a job in tough economic times that it can be physically and emotionally distressing as well as expensive. Many good folks are just too overwhelmed and avoid considering the implications of not utilizing family planning. Guilt carries with it a tendency for a person to making poor decisions or becoming totally immobilized to make any decision at all.
A Shotgun Start
A “U.S. News & World Report” article on caring for aging parents says that “avoidance can thrust adult children into the caregiver role with a shotgun start,” since instances such as a fall that results in a broken hip can immediately require the need for a full-time caregiver. Sometimes, I will hear from a FAMILY MEMBER UPSET THAT THEY DID NOT PREPARE..I tell them that ” it is only natural that one does not want to bring up these topics to their elderly loved one… we want to avoid them for various reasons ..
A friend and mentor of mine, Diane Carbo, a Registered Nurse, has more than thirty-five years in the nursing field. Her experience as a geriatric care manager, makes her uniquely qualified . She wrote 6 tips for dealing with guilt and overcoming caregiver stress and I believe they are very helpful :
Six tips for dealing with guilt and overcoming caregiver stress
- The first step to overcoming guilt is to acknowledge that is a feeling you are experiencing. There are many other feelings that go along with guilt such as sadness, anger, frustration and resentment. If you can acknowledge that you are having these feelings, you can begin to see things from a different perspective. If you have identified and acknowledged you have these negative feelings, take time to identify what is causing you to have these feelings. Are you angry and resentful that you siblings do not pitch in and offer assistance? Do you feel that your life is not your own? Are you afraid that you are losing someone close to you? Maybe you feel guilty because you wish you did not have to care for the aging seniors in your life. Many feel that they cannot do enough to or are the opposite and resentful that they have to do anything at all.
- Have you considered your needs and wants? This is a very important step for every care giver to realize. The caregiver needs are just as important as the person for which they are providing care and support. Caregivers feel guilty that they have needs. Many feel that their needs are not as important as their aging senior. This thought can be a big culprit and be the root cause of dealing with guilt and caregiver stress.
- A care giver must come to realize and accept that unless they take care of themselves and take action to meet their own needs, eventually they become ineffective as a care giver.
- Learn to be kind and patient with yourself. You are going to have your good days and your bad days. Allow yourself to feel the negative feelings. Realize that your feelings do not have to control your actions. With practice, over time, the guilt feelings will subside.
- Acknowledge you have needs and take action to get those needs met. It is OK to have some “me” time. In fact it is necessary. Give yourself permission to be selfish at times.
- Ask for help from others or accept help when it is offered. If you have uninvolved siblings investigate other avenues through the local church, community program or aging and adult services. Explore options to get some free time.
Aging baby boomers caring for elderly parents must realize that guilt is an emotion that comes with the role of caregiver. Dealing with guilt and overcoming caregiver stress can be accomplished by taking time to meet your own needs. Caregivers need to focus on the good that they achieve everyday and the improved quality of life they bring to the aging senior in their life.
Be mindful of your thoughts . I hope this helps a person that is experiencing these issues. .