Guilt: the Caregiver’s Frequent Companion?

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Guilt: the Caregiver’s Frequent Companion?

By Dr. Mikol Davis, Psychologist

Here at AgingParents.com, we recently answered this question:

“I feel so guilty about putting my mom in a nursing home. She’s near the end of her life. I just couldn’t manage her by myself anymore. She needs more than I can give her, but I feel so bad about sending her away. What can I do?” (read more…)

Coping with caregiver grief is truly a very lonely place to be. We often don’t age or die gracefully. So how do we deal with the challenges of being a caregiver of our aging parents when the final relief of suffering won’t just come soon enough? We can’t just do it alone, we need help, and must force ourselves to reach out to others. It is clear that you have reached your own personal emotional limit, when you no longer have the inner resources to offer hope and are felling quite helpless. This is a very important sign that our spirit is revealing to us that our personal responsibility and burden is clearly reducing the quality of our own lives.

So, now it’s time ask for the help and support you need as a caregiver. The grieving process is quite different for everyone. Often grieving becomes protracted, and when that happens we are challenged to do everything in our power to take better care of our mental and emotional needs. Sometimes caring for your aging parent requires that you get professional support to ensure that you don’t get stuck by your own hopeless and helplessness. Please don’t wait to contact your family doctor and get a referral to a professional psychologist or mental health practitioner who has traveled the grieving road. For mental health links and resources contact your local mental health association.

I hope my words help you move forward to both better help yourself deal with your guilty feelings and manage the grief. Mom would truly want you to do that for her. For additional resources on caregiving, see The Boomer’s Guide to Aging Parents, available at AgingParents.com and at Amazon.

Ó 2009, AgingParents.com

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