Dealing with Guilt

There could be many different reasons why caregivers feel guilt. Caregivers may experience guilt because of the relief of being spared the disease. They may experience guilt for feeling trapped, tired, angry or irritable. They may experience guilt for simply skipping steps in the care routine to save some time to care for themselves.

The following are some Tips for caregivers to combat their guilt:

1. Accept that guilt is normal.

Guilt is a normal experience that many caregivers experience while caring for someone with an illness.

2. List questions and discuss concerns with a physician or nurse.

The caregiver should list questions and concerns for the physician, nurse, and social worker to discuss during the regular health visit.

3. Discuss concerns with support group members.

Support group members may help brainstorm about practical solutions to the ongoing challenges of daily care management.

4. Discuss concerns with family and friends.

Family members and friends can provide companionship. Ask them to visit once a week or so, depending on how far away they live.

5. Ask neighbors for help.

Neighbors can regularly check on your loved one. Ask if they will remain alert to anything unusual, such as the smell of smoke or the sound of an alarm coming from your relative's house.

6. Reach out to the community.

Community organizations, such as churches, synagogues, neighborhood groups, and volunteer organizations, often provide companion services.

Material from “Helping People With Progressive Memory Disorders: A Guide For You And Your Family” (University of Florida Health Science Center). Used with permission from the authors: K. M. Heilman, MD, L. Doty, PhD, J. T. Stewart, MD, D Bowers, PhD, L. Gonzalez-Rothi, PhD.

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College of Public Health and Health Professions, University of Florida