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! 🙂
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
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.
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
Most of you are familiar with Kiplinger as a major financial and business advisor service / Web site. I was interested in an article on a very different topic, that illustrates just what how much our society is needing to … Continue reading
I just saw a tweet from a company that “certifies” family caregivers, claiming that if the family caregiver is not “certified,” they are probably guilty of elder abuse. All one has to do is buy the company’s “distance learning (study at home) educational course” and everything will be wonderful.
There are a number of problems I have with this sales technique.
Family caregivers are working their butts off to do everything they can for their loved ones, and most of them feel guilty they cannot do more. Well, now they find out they are actually “abusing” their loved ones, because they are not “certified” by this company. However, by paying only $265 plus sales tax, they will be taken off the list of abusers.
The company proudly states they are “NOT FOR PROFIT organization.” As someone who actually managed a not for profit company for ten years, I know that there is nothing sacred about that status. There may not be shareholders, but that does not mean there cannot be some very hefty salaries, commissions and bonuses being paid out. I wish folks would stop trying to parlay non-profit status into a halo.
As a company that provides in-home care, Support For Home works with a whole lot of family caregivers. Do some of them need more knowledge about their loved one’s dementia or dietary needs or proper transfers? Yes. Are companies that can help with some of that knowledge a good thing? Absolutely, although there are so many great (and free) support groups where family caregivers can get hands on help, understanding and training. But, stop trying to guilt dedicated family caregivers into writing your non-profit company a check!
Best wishes, from a frustrated Bert.
Posted in accepting home care, aging in place, Caregiving, elder abuse, elder care, family care decisions, family caregivers, Support For Home
Tagged caregiver, caregiver support groups, caregiving, elder care, health care for elders, home care, homecare, senior care
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AgingCare.com posted a good article titled, “Should You Quit Your Job to Care for Your Elderly Parent” which we really like here at Support For Home In-Home Care. The article, written by Carol Bradley Bursack, deals with a question that many … Continue reading
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In USA Today recently there was an article that starts out, “The ranks of family caregivers jumped from 30% in 2010 to 39% last year and it’s likely to continue climbing…” This is per a new study from Pew Research … Continue reading
The American Heart Association indicates that non-compliance with medication prescriptions is the number one problem in treating and managing illnesses. Studies report that 89,000 deaths and $100,000,000,000 in unnecessary hospitalization costs occur per year from this problem. The World Health … Continue reading