Guilt is a thief that comes in the night and steals. Steals our personality. Steals our self-respect. And steals our sense of well-being.
If we’re caring for an aging loved one, guilt can, if we let it, steal something even more important. It can steal our lives! It can suck up every last ounce of the person we are…until we hardly recognize ourselves anymore.
Often, though, we’re the ones setting ourselves up for guilt. And, by so doing, we do ourselves – as well as the senior for whom we’re caring – a great disservice.
The dictionary describes guilt as “being responsible for the commission of an offense; remorseful awareness of having done something wrong; or self-reproach for supposed inadequacy or wrongdoing.” Obviously the first two definitions don’t pertain to caregivers. But the third definition…that’s where many of us run into trouble.
The curse of caring for an aging loved one is that we can’t be everywhere and do everything for them. And, too often, we end up blaming ourselves for this. Many of us devote years to caring for a loved one, making great sacrifices in our personal and professional lives. Yet, we often blame ourselves for not doing more. Think about it. How often have we heard a friend or family-member lament that they wished they had been able to do more?
Most caregivers, however, are doing the very best they can…and, in the process, often neglecting to take care of themselves.
Sometimes, it’s hard to keep negative thoughts from intruding. But you can control your reaction to them. By acknowledging the difficulty of what you’re doing. And by giving yourself credit for doing it!
You’re doing the best you can. And you don’t deserve the guilt!
At The Law Offices of Alice Reiter Feld & Associates, we practice Elder Care Law. And we’ve been helping South Florida caregivers deal with guilt for 33 years. We have the expertise to help you deal with these feelings…and to help you take care of yourself, as well as your loved one.
Try turning the word “guilt” into something positive: Give Undeserved Illusions Little Thought!
It’s certainly a difficult tightrope to walk. But we’ll be holding the net underneath you…every step of the way!