Avoiding Caregiver Guilt

It is unfortunate that feelings of guilt are suffered by many home caregivers.  We have witnessed the expressed guilt feelings of many clients over the years. Who have done their best to care for a loved one at home. Yet, despite their best efforts, they second guess everything.  They feel that they could have done a better job for most everything they do.

Family caregivers are among the most selfless people on the face of the earth. The do what they do out of love for their parent or spouse – obviously not for the money. Caregiving is a very difficult task.  Caregivers can needlessly feel guilty and sometimes despondent because they often second-guess their actions. This is because caregivers are sons, daughters and spouses. Who dearly love their family member who is declining before their very eyes.  They desperately want to help. But don’t have the confidence to know whether their action at any given moment is the best thing that can be done for their loved one.  Your parent or spouse’s well-being (and sometimes their very life) is in your hands. You do the best that you can. But realize that a bad decision can negatively impact the health, well-being and happiness of the one you are trying to help.

Cindy and I have witnessed this journey, not only professionally as recounted by our clients, but personally. We both have walked the lonely caregiver path as we attempted to provide care for our declining mothers. Also, we understand personally the guilt and second-guessing that occurs when wondering whether we did the right thing for our parent today.

We found that the best way to deal with guilt feelings or second-guessing is to talk to a friend, professional service provider or another caregiver.  If the person you are talking to has walked the same path themselves, that discussion is of great value.  A few tips and a word or encouragement from someone who has walked (or is walking) in your shoes goes a long way to helping you feel better about what you are doing.

Our purpose here is to create a community of friends who are walking the same walk.  We want to create a group of people with like experiences who can provide practical tips. As to what worked for them and a word of encouragement to each other as you progress down your caregiver journey.

Please help us kick off this discussion. By sharing what you do to handle your guilt feelings while caring for a loved one at home.  Please share your thoughts with this community by typing your comments below.

About the Author

Doug & his wife Cindy have not only helped hundreds of families with their estate planning and elder law needs over the years, but have personal experience as caregivers and advocates for their Loved Ones as well.

  • I think my guilt comes from not being able to spend thetime with my 2 children that they need. My daughter is 15 a rough age and my youngest son is 8 he really needs momma. It breaks my heart when he wants me to play and I am having to do other things. I take care of both my parents mom 88 and dad 90. Mom is in worse shape than my father, especially mentally. I live with them take care of the house as well being a single mother with no financial help. I get really tired of telling my children we can do things because we have no money. My parents money pays the bills. this is a day to day struggle for me and just want to cry all the time but have to try and stay strong for my paents as well as my children any advice or ways I can get financial help for myself

  • Do your parents have enough money for you to hire some help, to free you(part time) for your children? I think Medicare will help some if you contact them.
    I am 88 and have had to put my husband in the nursing home, where he could be cared for more than my energy allowed. You feel some guilt about that too, but realize your limits. I visit him 5 times a week and I’m worn out emotionally and physically when I return after just staying a couple hours.
    I recall an aunt saying “the lucky ones go early”, and that seems to be true after we can’t take care of ourselves.

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