When you’re a caregiver, it’s common to feel guilty at times. There’s guilt that you can’t always be there for your loved one. There’s guilt that maybe you aren’t doing enough, and guilt about wanting to tend to your own needs. Teena’s experience caring for her father, diagnosed with early stage dementia, is a case in point. “I was just 34, working full-time, planning a wedding, and on top of that, expecting my first child when I became a caregiver for my 62-year old father. I felt bad that I didn’t know what to do for him and couldn’t be everywhere at once.”
Teena was referred to Senior Transitions by her attorney, and our case management team helped her navigate the maze of healthcare options for her dad. We walked her through the guardianship process, helped to find her father placement in a facility and later in a VA group home. Most importantly, we checked on him — sometimes daily — to make sure he was all right and we managed his medications and addressed every issue.
“They lifted the emotional strain. With everything I had going on in my life, the stress was weighing me down.” Knowing that the team was keeping a close eye on her father’s care was a huge relief. “I needed someone to give me permission to take care of my own needs too,” Teena shared. “I couldn’t see my father every day, but it was okay. I could rely on Senior Transitions to keep me informed of everything that was going on. They not only helped my father, they also helped me a great deal.”
For those in the “sandwich generation,” it’s a tough balancing act to care for one’s own family and an aging loved one, especially while trying to hold down a job. Often the caregiver’s needs come dead last and this can lead to burnout and physical illness. Families often come to us when they’re in a crisis and we assess the needs of the patient and family, then, from there, we provide guidance and hands-on services during a time that is often very emotional and challenging.
Caregiver guilt can be immobilizing! It’s hard to admit, even to ourselves, the very normal fluid feelings that arise while being a caregiver. There may be times you feel impatient with your care receiver, you may feel resentful, or just wish it would end. It is normal to even feel selfish and guilty when you need to take a break. That is why having a care manager is such an important part of caregiving. We reassure you that what you’re feeling doesn’t mean you’re a bad person. It can be so overwhelming and if we don’t take care of ourselves, it can result in physical and emotional exhaustion, which leads to impaired decision making.
If we can help alleviate the stress you are under, please contact us right away. We are prepared to offer our compassion, along with our professional service to help you get through this caregiving time. You too, can have what Teena has described.
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