3 Emotions Commonly Experienced When Caring for Aging Parents

Shame, Guilt, Resentment: How to Deal with the Three Primary Emotions Family Caregivers Struggle with Most

As a family caregiver, it’s perfectly natural to deal with feelings of shame, guilt, and resentment when caring for aging parents. Caregiver anger and resentment is real and it’s okay to admit. Coming to terms with your loved-one’s inability to properly care for themselves and perhaps their reluctance to letting you help them isn’t your fault… at least initially. That’s why it’s important to deal with the heavy and difficult emotions that come along with caring for an aging loved-one.

Old senior woman, 80s adult, grandmother, making crossword puzzles in living room sitting on sofa

How to Care for an Aging Loved One

STEP 1:  Start Now and Make a Plan

It’s always best to make a plan for their care along with them and not wait until there is an “event”. Common events such as falling and breaking bones to severe concussions, then ending up in rehab are all too common. Taking medications incorrectly causing serious complications, not eating well or maybe not all, driving a car and being a danger to themselves and others are just a few of most obvious problems that commonly occur. 

Yeah, if you aren’t proactively and intentionally preparing and dealing with these issues now… then you will be dealing with an “event” later, and that may not be so easy to handle. At that time, you may very well feel ashamed… and in effect, be guilty, and set in motion feelings of resentment towards your mom or dad. So, this is not only about them, but also about taking care of yourself so that you know you did everything possible to avoid these things knowing you put in action a plan ahead of time.

Putting off planning never works because it will become an emotional undercurrent causing unnecessary worry and stress which may last for years, and you know, worry and stress do take their toll. You’ve already got enough of that. Part of your plan means taking care of yourself along the journey. Don’t let others get in the way.

STEP 2:  Take Charge

Decide now that you will have to take charge and deal with difficult family members and the pushback from your loved-one. The question becomes, “How do you deal with an obstinate parent who is not going to make adjustments that you strongly suggest”? This is a very common situation. Hey, they’ve done a good job raising you and taking care of themselves for the past 83 years… “Don’t tell me how to live my life.” Well, they are right, you can’t deny them their free will… and at that point, it’s not really your fault if they fall down the stairs. It is important to accept the fact that your say in matters is limited. You will however need to find that fine line of how hard to push or demand something they may not want to do or are capable of doing themselves. At some point, you will have to take away car keys or perhaps have them live with 24/7 care.

STEP 3:  Deal with Potential Misconceptions… Starting with Your Own

Most older folks are afraid of ending up in a “home”. This phrase however can be loaded with misconceptions, and the misconceptions may begin with you. You probably hate the thought of “leaving mom or dad in an old folks’ home”, where people aren’t well cared for or are giving little to no attention. 

Before you go there consider the options for care:

  1. Private in-home care / $28-$32 per hour
  2. Care for them in your own home / The question is, “Are you physically, psychologically, and emotionally able to handle caring for them 24/7”? Most people aren’t. They are busy working and/or are just not capable of it, and many parents hate the thought of becoming a burden to their family or asking them to care for their less than desirable physical needs. There are professionals that do this regularly, are good at it, and do enjoy caring for elders. This may clearly not be your “gifting”… so let it go! You best not hang on to shame of guilt… life is too short.
  3. Explore local options for assisted living and/or member care.

Loving and Caring Assisted Living Communities for Your Parents

Not all assisted living communities are nasty “old folks’ homes” that you may have come to imagine or seen on TV. In fact, many provide a wonderful community with 24/7 care and attention. They come in many levels in terms of size, the amount of personal attention they will receive, what types of community and activities there may be, what the accommodations are and the price range for services. You might be pleasantly surprised at what you will find. There are exciting, healthy, stimulating, and positive options available to you. You do get what you pay for and that is another factor you will have to deal with.

You will most likely have to work with other family members who may very well not be involved or interested in helping you provide for mom or dad. Most of the time, this all falls on the shoulders of one or two family members, and many times it’s the woman in the family. Dealing with unhelpful siblings who may be more concerned about financial issues can get in the way. It may very well take a steely will and the ability to take control when dealing with obstinate and unhelpful family members.

Again you will need to put aside feelings of shame and guilt, and now resentment, and simply take charge of doing what needs to be done… because others are incapable of doing it. I know, much easier said than done, I’m simply preparing you if you haven’t been there already. Be prepared to love and accept yourself knowing you are doing what needs to be done because you are being responsible… no matter what they say!

STEP 4: Engage Support from Caring Assisted Living Facilities

Giving up your life to care for elderly parent can be challenging. But there is help available!  Every community has expert support available to you from home-care businesses to local and national support groups, assisted living facilities and residential style assisted living homes that care for a small group of residents needing 24/7 care.

It’s time to get out and visit some of these places, meet the staff, and get a feel for what it would be like to have your loved-one live there 24/7.

Assisted Living Homes in Wichita KansasWichita KS Assisted Living Homes – Located in the Wichita Kansas area? We welcome you to schedule a tour of our senior living facility, Comfort and Care in Wichita, Kansas. At Comfort and Love, our team works hard to provide a caring and comfortable setting for our residents.

STEP 5:  Remain Calm

Are you experiencing caregiver burnout? Remember, you are not alone. You are not the first or only one going through this difficult time. Feelings of shame, guilt, and resentment are very real, but they need not control your life. Offloading care to professionals, participating in a support group and knowing you are not in control are all part of this journey. You are doing your best to be responsible in this situation and you need to give yourself grace. No one wants to see a loved-one suffer, just know it’s not your fault and do your best not to blame yourself.

Assisted Senior Living and Memory Care in Wichita, Kansas

Do you have questions about Comfort and Care Senior Living homes? Contact Jim Guarino,  Owner/Operator of Comfort and Love Senior Care Homes in Wichita, KS.

For more information he can be reached at: 316-260-4330 JimG@ComfortandLove.com