St Louis Caregiver Guilty

Caregiver guilt and how to stop it from growing

Stop feeling guilty and get on with enjoying the company of your loved one. Wouldn’t you rather be taking your Dad for a walk or going to a movie?

Emma recently went through the process of obtaining home care for her Dad. After years of looking after him, it started to take a toll on her other responsibilities. As much as she loved her father and cherished her time with him, she also had a full-time job and a family to care for. But she felt guilty she couldn’t do more for him.

Caregiver guilt when you are caring for a loved one is not uncommon. Especially if they have aliments that you feel powerless to fix. You are not alone and caring for your loved one is not something you need to do on your own. Emma had to help her Father and herself make the transition to home care and she explains how she resolved caregiver guilt.

Describe a typical day when you were a caregiver full time

“My father is still independent however due to his blindness, he needed additional support. When I was sourcing home care for my Dad, I felt guilty and lazy that I couldn’t look after him more. I would clean his house and then go home and clean my house and be exhausted.

He also needed assistance with food shopping, transport to the barber, medical appointments, the bank, paying bills and running general errands. I had to fit this into my day along with my other responsibilities and it was getting harder for me.”

What parts were rewarding and made you feel happy that you were able to provide this for your Father?

“My mother passed away six years ago. Before dad down-sized to a retirement village (where he is now), he lived in our family home. I used to help maintain the garden, cook food, do the house work and assist with book work. We are best mates and I found it both enjoyable and rewarding to help him, and he would do the same for me. However, as the years passed and his eyesight deteriorated, he needed more and more assistance.”

When did the guilt begin to step in? What events triggered this?

“My father had to go into hospital for a heart bypass and when he was in hospital he decided that he would sell the house and car and move to a retirement village. It was something we had explored earlier as he had begun relying on me more for everyday matters because his eyesight was getting worse. With a young daughter of my own, a house and full time job, I was finding this stressful. I began feeling guilty that I couldn’t help more but I was stretched with my time.”

What advice do you have for caregivers caring for loved ones who may be in the same position?

“When Dad returned home from hospital, he had an Aged Care assessment. The care worker said to me “rather than spending all your time with your father cleaning and attending to him, why don’t you have quality time together and we can get someone to do this for you”. I felt like the world had lifted off my shoulders and we did just that. They were able to point us in the right direction and gave us support to arrange transport, support aids around the house, a cleaner, meal service. We also visited the RSB (Royal Society for the Blind) to get vision aids. It gave my Dad so much more independence so he could manage on his own again without having to ask me. These changes made a huge difference to his spirit and he had positive outlook on life again.

My advice is don’t feel guilty as you can’t do it all and there are good people like St Louis out there to help support your parents and you.”

How is your Dad nowadays?

“Dad is happy and well. He is in control of his life and is independent while having support when he needs it. He keeps his social activities going with his friends and we have a good catch up, a glass of wine and laugh at least once a week.”

Let St Louis’ family help take care of yours and give yourself some respite

St Louis has been looking after the needs of older Australians for more than 70 years. We are a family owned business with more than 300 families whose loved ones we take care of today. We understand caregiver guilt all too well. Stop feeling this way and reach out to one of our friendly team here to discuss how we can offer you some respite with your caregiving responsibilities.

Call us on 08 8332 0950 for a confidential discussion about home care options, residential aged care and independent living.