Caregiver Guilt

Dementia Today is a pretty darn good blog side for folks in our industry – and for families – to check out now and then. In a recent posting, they talk about some research out of the Mayo Clinic, involving issues of guilt felt by caregivers caring for folks with dementia. The gist of the research is that such caregivers are carrying around a whole lot of guilt that they should not feel. Of course, “should” and “should not” are the two most useless examples of advice in the history of humankind. We should not use them! 🙂

Elder Care and Home Care Services

The fact is, what we feel, as caregivers, is real. The old cliche that “Perception is reality” is all too true about this issue. Here are some of the types of guilt that dementia caregivers are carrying around:

  • Guilt over realizing how they treated or judged the person with dementia before knowing what was going on (before diagnosis)
  • Guilt that somehow they are not caregiving as well as they should, or that others do a better job
  • Guilt over feeling resentful, trapped, unloving, or a host of other negative thoughts
  • Guilt for wanting time for themselves, for using respite care so they can have a break
  • Guilt for doing things without their loved one that they once enjoyed together
  • Guilt for not visiting enough
  • Guilt for wishing it was over
  • And there’s at least one more I must mention, caregivers may feel guilty for not feeling guilty.

Some of these issues hold great value as teachable moments for all of us. The very first one is a great example. How many families have just wanted (or told) Mom or Dad to just act normal, and then learned that it was Alzheimer’s or Vascular Dementia or Dementia with Lewy Bodies that was the real issue – and that Mom or Dad was never again going to be the same person who raised them.

Every family needs to study the aging experience, including the issues of dementia and other diseases associated with unhealthy aging. Preparation is vital.

In the meantime, families facing the issues of caring for a dementia sufferer need to move beyond wishing and guilt to getting support and taking action. We at Support For Home and other high quality, high integrity elder care agencies can be a big help in that effort.

Your experiences are welcome.

Best wishes. Bert


Affordable Care Act and Home Care

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Each year, Support For Home In-Home Care participates in the Private Duty Benchmarking Study, conducted by Home Care Pulse. These studies cover a wide range of topics and are quite valuable to home care agencies – and to the clients … Continue reading


Elders and Healthcare Followup

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Yesterday I wrote about an article in USA Today about the incredible financial cost of healthcare for our country’s medically complex elders. As I mentioned, that cost is not just to our clinical healthcare system, including Medicare. It also hits … Continue reading


Elders Impacting Health Care

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USA Today published a story titled, “Nation’s sickest seniors reshape health care”. The subtitle is, “10,000 SENIORS COST MEDICARE $1 BILLION”. That comes out to $100,000 for each of those seniors. That is an annual figure. As USA Today indicates, The … Continue reading


Elders, Doctors and Driving

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I recently read a depressing article on, entitled, “Why Doctors Don’t Like to Discuss Driving with Older Patients“. It is depressing to me and to those of us at Support For Home In-Home Care because we have seen it … Continue reading

Harvey-Pete is Smarter Than I Am

I came across a great piece on the Alzheimer’s Reading Room, entitled “The Best Alzheimer’s Caregiver Tool of Them All, Harvey“. I hope you will check it out. Frankly, the creativity and imagination of caregivers, especially those caring for folks with various forms of dementia, continues to amaze and delight me. In this instance, it is the imagination of Bob DeMarco that makes me shake my head and smile.

The Parrot Alzheimer's Caregiver

Alzheimer’s Caregiver!

It continues to amaze me how many simple but marvelous tools we have to make the lives of those suffering from dementia significantly better – and make the lives of the caregivers better and easier, as well.

Whether it is a simple, straightforward approach, like Habilitation Therapy, or the marvelous Music and Memory program that we have adopted at Support For Home In-Home Care, or any number of other inventive approaches, we are lucky to have so many bright people focused on the problems of dementia care and able to share their ideas through social media, around the world.

What are the best ideas you have found – techniques, props, whatever – to help you as a dementia caregiver?

Best wishes. Bert


Nurses and (other) Caregivers recently published an article called, “What Nurses Wish Caregivers Knew“. It is the result of some interviews done with hospice and hospital nurses. While there are some nurses we have met, through our own work at Support For Home … Continue reading