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Caregiver Guilt: Two Common Myths Increase Stress

caregiver guilt

Don’t let undeserved caregiver guilt add to your stress

There are many common misconceptions about what caregivers should do or how they should feel that can cause guilt that isn’t deserved.

Unfortunately, these misguided beliefs and unrealistic expectations about caregiving can also hurt you by causing burnout, compassion fatigue, or serious health conditions caused by chronic stress.

Caregiver guilt might also influence you to take on unrealistic responsibilities, avoid getting help you need and deserve, or be too hard on yourself

All of this only adds to your stress, makes you feel worse, and makes an already tough situation even more challenging.

To help you recognize when you’re feeling guilt that isn’t deserved, we share 2 common myths about what caregivers “should” do and explain the truth behind these incorrect assumptions.


Myth #1: If you don’t provide full-time, hands-on care, you’re not doing your job as a caregiver

Popular belief You can only call yourself a caregiver if you always help your older adult with tasks like bathing, dressing, eating, etc.

If you aren’t doing full-time care, you’re not doing enough.

Truth That’s absolutely false! There are many roles a caregiver can take on.

Everything you do for your older adult is important and makes a difference in their lives.

For example, you might spend hours every week managing your dad’s finances, visit their assisted living community every other day, or actively manage their hired caregiver helper.

Or you might be working closely with a geriatric care manager to make sure your mom, who lives across the country, has the best care possible.

Some caregivers are able to go with their older adult to medical appointments and advocate for them. Many regularly buy groceries, deliver meals, do household chores, or go for long visits.

If you didn’t take on those responsibilities, your older adult would suffer for the lack of help and companionship.

Being a critical part of their support system makes you a wonderful caregiver.

Myth #2: You should be able to do everything by yourself and shouldn’t need help from anyone

Popular belief One person should take responsibility for everything their older adult needs and should handle it all by themselves. If they can’t, it’s because they’re not doing a good job.

Truth No caregiver should be made to feel like they need to do everything alone. 

Caregiving requires a team. It doesn’t matter if your caregiving team is made up of family, friends, hired professionals, or care programs.

Trying to do everything completely on your own often causes chronic stress that can lead to burnout and serious illness.

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By DailyCaring Editorial Team Image: Continuum Care


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