Feeling Guilty Over Not Taking Care of an Elderly Relative?

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Feeling Guilty Over Not Taking Care of an Elderly Relative?

Feeling Guilty Over Not Taking Care of an Elderly Relative?

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. .