I have done everything possible providing care to my mom. I have covered every base in caregiving for my mom, even though she is in a nursing home. I go everyday and bring her home one day on the weekend. my sibling has her sunday. i have recently started to take fridays off, to recoup from burnout. yet i still feel guilt and i dont know how to overcome it. im afraid to do something for me, for myself, feeling that what if something happens to mom, while im out and i should have been there. logically i understand that whats going to happen will happen regardless, but i feel if i make time for me, i am letting her down. the care is good in the home, but i still make sure she has enough towels, make sure her necklaces are off before bed, make sure her pull ups are stocked in her washroom, and her call bell is working, the psw's dont check these things, she has recently started using a walker, so every night before i leave i also, try to tell her about use of her walker, breaks etc. but she cant remember. i live in fear for the phone call that she has fallen while im not there. my sibling isnt as comitted as i am, and only does what is necessary. she makes sure she has plenty of her own time, which is good for her, but i feel guilt to do that, like im abandoning mom, i am older as well. can you please tell me where to get information on caregiver guilt. thank you.

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Is this really guilt you are feeling or is it anxiety over losing control? I myself am very anal about the care my mother receives and it was difficult for me to let go of the reins and allow others to do things differently. At some point you have to really accept that you CAN NOT do it all, that the way others do things may be different, but not wrong. Your mother is old and frail enough to be accepted in a nursing home; she WILL probably fall, or get pressure sores, or miss meals etc, but all those things would possibly happen whether you are caring for her hands on or not. And she WILL eventually die, as we all will, no matter how tightly you try to hold on to control of her daily life.
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Exactly what I was about to ask CW - only I was going to say anxiety about your mother. You're afraid that "something" might happen to her. And, sooner or later, "something" I'm sorry to say will happen to her. As it will to us all.

By rushing around like this, and when you're not rushing around holding your breath, metaphorically speaking, you're anticipating that dreadful day. And what's wrong with that is that the fear and grief that you will feel on the day when "Something" happens is contaminating your and your mother's here-and-now!

You know the old saying 'a coward dies a thousand deaths, a brave man dies but once'? Well. A caregiver like you goes through trauma every day. You're wasting time you'd do better to spend enjoying your visits with your mother and her trips to your home, for as long as God willing they continue.
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(((Tight Hug))) I understand...
I was the exact same way about all you said, i wouldnt even allow myself to get take out.
Perhaps look for a place that will giver her better care?
I have been burdened with guilt the same way you are for years...
the only way it became less is when my parents were in better nursing homes.
If she truly is in a good place, then you need to become her advocate there.
You have to train them to care for her to your expectations. Have sit down meetings with the daily staff and social worker, dietitian,nurse, and tell them how you want her needs met.
Then take a day off. Then when you visit again, instead of caring for her, stand away (i would sneak) and watch how they interact with her, note your grievances and tell the person in charge.
No, they will not be as good as you...
People would ask me "Is she safe? Is she clean? Is she happy?" um,she was.
You will begin to feel more confident I hope-
It is your love that keeps the ties.... lets turn them into ribbons of love instead of ropes that bind.
The guilt you feel is deep care, if you do these things it may slowly slowly dissipate .
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This is a hard issue to address, and one on which to achieve balance. Even though you know that you're doing everything you can and want to do, there's still that sense of guilt and betrayal that you're not caring for her in your or her home.

I doubt if there are few if any people here who haven't addressed these kinds of issues at one time or another. And many of us are probably still struggling with them. I am.

It is difficult to find an acceptable medium. What I've tried to do is ask if there's anything more I can do, myself, or through others. Enlisting what help is available is one way, and knowing that you're providing care through others is another.

I would offer a word of caution though; some of the activities you're doing should be done by staff. Once they see you're taking care of them, they'll mentally recognize that they don't need to do them. I doubt that would ever be charted or documented, but it's something to consider as one of the balances needing to be achieved is to allow the paid staff to perform their duties so that you don't have to do chores that others can do. This leaves you more time to perform tasks more in the line of what a daughter would do, and these are just as important to you and your mother.

I think these issues stem from the obligation we feel toward caring for our parents, an obligation which often doesn't include a final home away from ours or their own family home.
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nads, I know exactly how you feel. My Dad is now in senior living and he likes being there.... but I still feel like something is missing, that I should be doing a lot more.

I really should take the clue from Dad that everything is ok and not to worry... but I do. For me part of it is my OCD wanting everything to run smoothly, and like you to make sure there is enough pull-ups in the bathroom, as my Dad isn't one for looking under the sink in the cabinet for extras.

Suggestion, cut back on your visits.... I use to visit my Dad daily but I really think that tired him out as he had his favorite caregivers with him all morning plus he was doing physical therapy, so after lunch was his down time to relax, then I would pop in. Eventually I cut back to every other day, then every third day, and now I visit once a week. I realized my Dad's memory wasn't as great and he really didn't remember if I had been there the day before or not.

I sometimes think if we are older, senior citizens ourselves, it can be more difficult to shake the guilt... plus we are thinking will this be us in a few years, that scares me.
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Hi Mica. Anxiety and loss of control over what happens to your mom and eventually to yourself were the same thoughts going through my mind, too. My mom was in ALF 5 min from hubby and me for over 5 yrs. I know it's important to visit often and and at different times of the day to show the staff that you're interested in mom, but I stayed with her for many hours that I didn’t have to. I liked the staff and owner, and mom seemed content. Assandache7's advice to trust that she was being taken care of and to go home to my husband would have probably saved me a lot of stress on my health and almost losing my husband. He was patient during the almost 7 years of time from her breaking her hip to her passing away. It was then that he unloosed the anger and neglect that had been building up in him. I am not sorry for the time I spent with my mom, but I see now that I thought if I were there I could protect her. Being an only child with no children (step-children across the country), maybe I was trying to assure myself that someone would be there for me? I don't know, but those are the thoughts that surfaced as I read yours and the other posts. I hope our experiences help you find some peace in your actions and your heart. We are all wishing you well and sending our love to your mom, too. Stay in touch. PS. I never thought I would look back and see myself in Shakespeare’s quotation and see a coward. I have learned a lot on this site!
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You can take her out of the NH and bring her to your house to live...

That's sarcasm! You need to trust the NH and focus on your husband..
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wow church and cw are spot on for me as I was.... but am less now.
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I recently read that feelings of guilt regarding the care of a loved one may be a symptom of Caregiver Stress or Syndrome. I'd look into that. I had a link, but we aren't supposed to post them here.

I had a difficult time understanding why so many people say they feel guilt regarding a loved one that they have done so much for. I have felt frustration, stress and fear, but not guilt, since I have only done good and helpful things. So, I started researching and saw that it comes up from the overwhelming weight on the mind and body from caregiving. It's not rational, but something the mind does under such stress. It's very unfortunate, but I would explore that condition and try to get help with that. Then the guilt should disburse eventually.
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SunnyGirl, I learned a lot from the responses, too, especially CM's. I can easily understand how one could suffer from that. I will try to find the link and follow up.

Thank you for sharing the information.
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