Does anyone else have these guilty feelings?

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Being a caregiver to my mother is getting to be overwhelming......but I get guilty feelings and feel bad when I have these thoughts and feelings. It's as though I have to do it (the care) and keep a smile on my face and I feel terrible sometimes if I feel negative about it. My mother has heard me talk about it many times and I feel guilty with that too......her thinking that she is a burden on me. I think one answer is that we all wish it was years ago when our parents were younger and healthy and everything was easier back then. Life was better, everyone was happy......it was fun times. Now, we see how our parents are old and sick and it gets us angry to see them that way. It's almost like we blame our parents for getting old and putting us in the position we are now in. I have to control my guilty thoughts because one day when my mother is gone, I don't want to look back and feel regret over these guilty feelings that I have. It's just hard doing all of this and it's life changing. I just wish my mother was young and healthy again. Does anyone have these guilty feelings?

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Even saints have guilty feelings of never doing enough. Communication is good between caregiver, and elder. Can you tell her why you are giving her care, your overwhelming love and gratitude for everything she has been and done for you, along with how tired and guilty you feel. When i am breaking under the relentless pressure, I say to myself this will end one day. Dad raised 9 kids, and has been there for me every moment of my life. To give him his wish to die in his house, is the least I can do. I know I am doing the right thing.

You have strength, courage, and a great sense of humor. I admire that. Your Mom raised a good man. To give you a good laugh, the growth I have made in being a human being is huge. I kept my mouth shut for a month, so that my Dad would decide to start Parkinson drugs on his own. lol Now you know that almost killed me. If I can do that I can do anything, and so can you. Thanks for the hug. I needed it. It made my day.
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Everyone has those feelings you describe. We can never understand or anticipate the level of care and responsibilities our aging loved ones require. We all long for the old days, but certainly not as much as our loved one! They would give anything to turn back or stop time. It's so sad but they realize its "the last frontier " and how scary for them to fear what comes next.

Try to get some outside help if you can afford for as many hrs as you can afford to help with mom. Will she consider visiting senior center a few days a week -- this will give you both a break.

Any assistance you can rally will help you mentally and physically so you can have the quality time with her you both deserve.

You might consider finding some free counseling thru church, local senior services center, or a senior center or AL where they might have a caregiver support group (most wont snub you because you don't have a loved one as a resident there).

Tell your mom how much you love her and that you don't mean to ever make her feel a burden; be honest, tell her you want her to "have best care possible and sometimes you just feel you aren't giving her all she deserves."

She understands. Please don't beat yourself up or ever have regrets. You sound like a wonderful daughter!!

Come here whenever you need to vent or need support.
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Roscoe ... it seems we all carry guilt for what we think about when caring for our parents as so many have expressed. The guilt can break your spirit if you aren't careful. As long as you are caring for your Mom and making sure she is clean, fed and comfortable. Some of the emotional baggage has just got to go. You can only do so much and taking care of an adult who is unable to think for themselves and is fading away is an emotional roller coaster.

One thing is the grieving. Read up on the 5 stages of grief. It's meant for someone who has lost a loved one but what most people don't realize is that we lose our aging loved ones every day, all day and then we get to do it all over again the next day. It seems not to end. I tend to angry at all the grief, day in and day out, I want to run away or just hide. Sometimes I try to make sure I have a project that keeps me nearby if help is needed. But I have come to realize, that there are certain things I cannot control, like when Mom doesn't want to eat, or she won't elevate her legs to reduce swelling, or she hobbles over the refrigerator and stands there for five minutes trying to figure out what is there. She's very frail, very weak. Always worrying that she may fall. But I have to let her make her way on her own. She needs that independence as small as it is. The point is do the best you can, realize you cannot control it all. Lose the guilt.
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Roscoe,

I think we all feel both feelings, love and sadness for our parent or spouse, and anger and disgust over how constant and unpleasant the job is. If you can feel and show love to your mother several times a day, then you know you are doing a good job.

When you are doing the unpleasant parts, pretend there is an angel sitting on your shoulder telling you that you are doing a good job, and being a good son. Be proud of yourself all the time, and give yourself a pat on the back. When you screw up, or act impatient, remember you're only human, apologize, and start over.

When you feel guilt, ask yourself why. If you have done "wrong," apologize and try to do better. When you feel guilty for not being perfect, that guilt should be tossed in the trash. It doesn't help. It only makes us unhappy and tired. This job will never be easy, but with love and self-love, it can be more rewarding.
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Horserider, boy you nailed it. Most of the reason I am in this position is because my mom fought us every single step of the way. Thank the good Lord we finally managed to get her to sign a POA before it was too late. I am struggling to get paperwork together to file her taxes that have not been filed for four years..No worrying in her owing anything, she just plain hid them from us. You see, there was nothing wrong with her, it was all in OUR heads! I love my mom, but that darn dementia was there, lying dormant for years. Enough of it appeared that we knew it was a problem, but her defensiveness in letting us help her was horrible. She had to reach a certain point where we were able to come in and just reverse our roles. The most maddening thing is that for many years we took her to get her taxes done, while she was healthy. Dementia reared it's nasty head, not enough for full time care, but enough for us to increase help. She hid her things from us because of course we were trying to steal her money...God Love her, she doesn't have any money!...and so we cope.
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Sharonmit I love your answer...Regression vs progression...I'm often comparing my Mom's situation to raising my kids, but you found the perfect wording... Roscoe we're all in the same boat..Just don't let it tip over...
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Oh yeah! Guilt, and being mad at the person with dementia for not having planned ahead better, for fighting my earliest attempts to help (his resistance landed us both in heaps of misery), and now for refusing to eat (passive-aggressive plus stubborn -- it's just delightful with dementia as the icing on the cake!!!!)
Through all that I care about him, & worry about him, and he cares about me as best as he is able. But yes, guilt goes with the territory. As hard as it is, you give yourself permission to be "less than perfect", to make mistakes, and know that you did what you could. You choose to care for yourself at some points, and do things that keep you sane, even if there are things you think you could be doing for your Mother at that moment (you'll help her in the long run).
What is interesting is how much folks with dementia understand when we talk with them. Mine has given me permission to live my own life, has said that I've "done a good job", and a few other things that make me cry when I think about it (all this while at a rather late stage of dementia, BTW). The emotions are the last to go, the judgement the first.
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I am the full time caregiver for my mom. She is very loving & appreciative of all my help but I still experience feelings of being overwhelmed. I understand what you mean by having to keep your feelings inside. I am looking to make online friends so we can vent to each other, help to count all our blessings, & to have positive thoughts. It is important for you to have activities for you to enjoy on a daily basis to ensure you are able to deal with your feelings of guilt & to keep your loving feelings for your mom in the forefront of your mind & heart. I wish you & your mom the best.
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Great info yaya, thanks!

Hang in there Roscoe, it is common. When raising our children we experience progression, it's all regression with our parents, so that in itself is difficult.

Try to keep the feelings to yourself, but do not feel guilty for having them. It's very hard to be a caregiver, and the spur of the moment activities are done for awhile.
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Roscoe- in the upper right corner of this page is a search box. If you type into it "coping with guilt" you will get a page showing 137 discussions, 268 questions, and 79 articles dealing with the subject....you are not alone!!!! Unfortunately, when caring for an aging parent feelings of guilt just seem to come with the territory. The important thing is how you deal with these feelings. Everyone's situation is different, and the things that trigger feelings of guilt can vary widely from one person to another. It may help to search through the articles provided here and see if any of them strike a familiar chord with you?

Feeling guilty now and then is normal. The important thing is to not let yourself become so overwhelmed by it that it becomes unhealthy. Allow yourself time to sort your feelings out, understand where they're coming from, accept there are some things you just can't change - you're only human....then take a deep breath...and allow yourself forgiveness!

And remember, there are MANY here sharing the "guilt boat" with you. Support is just a "click" away, whenever you need it.
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