If you’re feeling negative emotions when caring for an elderly loved one, you are not alone. For many, the demands of caregiving are only deepened by a sense of guilt—and often the worry that we aren’t doing enough, providing enough, or taking care of everything that requires our attention. There are many forms of caregiver guilt, depending on the caregiver’s life circumstances. For many, the guilt is a result of our sense of responsibility for things we feel we could’ve changed for the better—even if the events or choices were outside our control. And when the complicated challenges of caring for an elderly loved one may not go as planned, our guilt makes us shoulder the disappointment and self-blame in how things turned out. If you’re feeling caregiver guilt, the following statements may sound familiar:
- We feel guilty we don’t spend enough time without loved ones, or that we spend too much time with them at the expense of others.
- We feel guilty for moving our loved ones into a senior facility or assisted living, or that we’re hurting them and others by keeping them in their own home or moving them into our family’s home.
- We feel guilty for own feelings: for resenting the burden of caregiving, for frustration at our parent’s limits, and for being selfish if we do prioritize our own needs.