Facing and Navigating Family Caregiver Guilt.. and Moving On

“That infamous caregiver guilt… we all feel it sometimes… the little voice in your head that’s always telling you you’re not doing it right, you’re not good enough, or when you have to enforce something your parent doesn’t want… or it could be your parent telling you things that make you feel guilty”

Sofia Amirpoor, a geriatric social worker and a family caregiver talks about family caregiver guilt. This is a very natural feeling experienced, irrespective of whether the family caregivers have or have not done something to cause it. This guilt causes caregivers to devote more time and effort towards their loved ones. While this may seem like a beneficial thing from the patient’s point of view, it is actually detrimental for both, the caregiver and the patient. Patients are actually better taken care of when the caregiver is in a healthy state of mind. This video explains the types of caregiver guilt and ways to overcome it.

Caregiver guilt (or just feeling bad!) can come from within or loved ones or others disturbing one’s peace of mind and eventually, the caregiving process. It is important to take notice of it’s cause and the potential solution to it and even when the guilt IS caused due to a specific action, it is important tonot dwell upon it for too long.

“No matter where it comes from, it just wrecks havoc on your emotions…For many of you, this voice is persistent, it never backs off”

The “voice” is the range of statements that contribute to the guilt. The guilt of having done something or not having done keeps nagging us at all times, whether we are working harder to improve the patient’s condition or even dreaming of taking some time for ourselves, not letting us experience the rewarding aspects of caregiving or anything else.

“If you get used to noticing it, then you can face it and you can tell it, ‘Stop it! You’re wrong. Get out of here, you’re just a voice in my head and just because you’re there, doesn’t mean you’re right’.” 

She talks about how confronting emotions makes it easier to accept and resolve them – One should put his/her foot down and shift from focusing on the one negative to the large number of positive things one has done for their patient. There is a good exercise to do just that in the video!

If you can identify with this story, please share it with others who care for someone and help them share too. The feeling of understanding, not being alone and access to support is what keeps caregivers going.  

As a healthcare professional, sharing your opinion helps reflect and influence the healthcare system at large. You can help bring back care into healthcare for the patients, fellow professionals and the family caregivers. Our experiences and hopes can benefit others – to know that the challenges are the same, learn new ways to cope and care… they aren’t alone but part of a team.

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Source: Sofia Amirpoor

This YouTube video has been curated by Caregiver Saathi. All Rights are Reserved with the original publisher and creators.

2 thoughts on “Facing and Navigating Family Caregiver Guilt.. and Moving On

  1. Just what we needed to hear as a caregiver. The guilt feeling scenarios are so accurate. I like when she guides us to evaluate our pros and cons while taking decisions. Loves the solutions that she provides.

  2. I never thought of guilt complex till it was pointed out to me that I was giving care out of guilt complex.There is nobody whom I have to answer. My wife forgotten me totally. she would not know whatever I do. All my illness and operations have come after wife had dementia inspite of my best efforts to keep myself fit for my autistic son and wife with dementia. Being autistic my son is self centered cannot appreciate my efforts. My whole focus is on both of them . I keep relation with friend family,school and college mates Ocassionaly .Once month in any one group. I never felt guilt complex till I was told But I still dont feel it. IT is just routine. I dont make new friend as I feel socialising will keep me away from my focus on both of them. I keep myself busy in some activity which I can do from home. I dont understand what I could do. Though I do feel lonely as I cannot have healthy conversation with either of them.
    Any suggestions

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