Guilt Is a Common Caregiver Affliction - Let's Avoid It
By Jean Donahue
. . Should I put them in a nursing home?
. . Could I keep them home longer?
. . I'm at the nursing home twice a day but my husband still complains
that I'm not there enough.
. . She isn't happy with anything that I do.
. . I should be able to do more.
. . I wish I didn't have to do this.
you are a family caregiver you probably have found yourself speaking words
similar to these. Questions and statements like these are the result of
look at an example: Jane (79 years old) has been taking care of her
husband, Tom (83 years old), at home. Jane has lost weight, her blood
pressure has gone up, she hurt her back and she is very nervous. She still
feels she should be able to take care of Tom. He has always been there for
her when she needed help, and she wants to be there for him now that he
needs her help. The rest of their family and Jane's doctor insist that she
put Tom in a nursing home.
is trying to do the impossible -- be a superhuman wife, soul-mate and
caregiver. Her health is getting worse and, as a result, she is unable to
take care of Tom the way she should. It probably won't be much longer
until she has a stroke, heart attack or some other major health problem
that will either make it impossible for her to take care of Tom at all --
or it will take her life.
can't see this, though. All she sees is that she should be able to take
care of Tom. She feels guilty because she can't do everything she thinks
she should do.
are seeing caregiver guilt in action. Jane has pushed herself to do things
beyond her physical and mental ability, and she hasn't arranged for the
help she needs. She should have asked for help a long time ago, before her
health started to suffer.
didn't she ask for help and why didn't she take better care of herself?
There are probable several answers to that question.
all very complex, but there are guiltless ways for you, the family
caregiver, to get your own life back while taking care of your loved one.