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How Can You Handle Guilt from Your Loved One When You Take Time Away from Caregiving?

By Erin Carll

Guilt is a powerful motivator and your elderly loved one is likely to use it on you more than once during your time as a caregiver. The question is, how do you handle that guilt when you're trying to be a caregiver and a person in your own right, too?

It's about Her, Not You

The big thing to remember in this situation is that the guilt that is being shoveled your way isn't really about you. It might feel as if it is and your loved one might tell you that it is, but it's not. It's really about your loved one and her own feelings of loss and unhappiness with her situation. She may feel left out in all aspects of her life, causing her to level a heap of guilt your way. You can't take it personally because it's really not about you.

Be Firm about Your Own Plans

Most caregivers aren't taking enough time away, period. So when you do have other plans, be firm about them. They're your plans, which are a part of your life. You still have your own life, even though you're a family caregiver. You can't give up living your own life because your loved one needs help at this stage of her life.

Avoid the Guilt

While you're protecting your boundaries, avoid feeling guilty. There's no reason for you to take on that guilt, even if it feels as if you should. You haven't done anything to feel guilty about in making these plans for yourself, so the guilt isn't yours. Let it go.

Seek out Support for Yourself

You'll need support for yourself, especially in the learning stages of this process. You might find it helpful to find a support group or a counselor with whom you can talk about what is going on. It's also a good idea to find experienced home care providers to stay with your loved one while you're supporting yourself. This enables you to let go of any residual guilt that your loved one is alone or doesn't have someone to help her while you're otherwise occupied.

Let your loved one know that you love her and care about her, but that the guilt isn't going to work.

If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring homecare in Cheswick, PA, please call the caring staff at Home Helpers. Call today (412) 201-0712.