Caregiving Guilt

By Susanne White. Posted on Fri Nov 06 2015

A dear friend's Mother recently broke her hip and landed in the hospital. She developed complications and had to remain in critical care until she stabilized.

My friend who was the primary caregiver put together a team of family and friends who supported and helped her by going to the hospital and checking in when my friend couldn't be there since she had a full time job. She was also in constant communication with the nurses station and the doctor on call. In short she had done everything she could to effectively and efficiently manage the situation and her moms care. (See this helpful article Which is better Home care or Assisted living)

Nevertheless she began to feel anxious and guilty that she was not  by her Mother's side every moment. So she tried commuting to the hospital morning and night before work. She began to wear herself out physically and emotionally. The caregiver trap of feeling she could never do enough began to get her down. (Here's a wonderful article about getting help Personal Care Assistants)

I shared with her that I too had a tendency to feel guilty or anxious if I was not by my parents side at all times. However, this was not helping anything and if I began to drive myself to the brink of exhaustion I was not only putting myself at risk I was putting my loved ones at risk as well. I was not able to make good decisions when sleep deprived or anxious and I needed a clear head when my loved ones were in critical condition.

As caregivers we must realize that in general we will always feel that we are never doing enough especially in times of medical crisis. This type of thinking is damaging and actually dangerous. It is especially in times of crisis that we must be sure to take extremely good care of ourselves. We need to get good rest, eat well and stay healthy.

We need to accept our best efforts as being enough. We need to pace ourselves and believe we are always doing the absolute best we can. We cannot always control the outcome of life on life's terms but we can make sure we can control how we take care of ourselves as we care for others.

So know you are doing more than enough, pace yourself, ask for help and take radical good care of yourself. The let go and let God.


About the author: Susanne White

Susanne White is a former music industry executive.

She graduated from Cabrini College, PA with a degree in Psychology and a minor in Sociology and received her PhD in Life Studies from the College of the Seat of Her Pants.

She was blessed with the opportunity to care for her parents and ventured out on a journey that would change her life. She blogs about this journey on her site and shares her experience, strength and hope with others so that they too may survive caregiving with grace and empowerment.

Follow her on Twitter @caregivewarrior