Historically women are the ones who have taken care of the kids as well as aging parents and loved ones who are ill. Many women are very uncomfortable with the assumption that they will be the automatic caregiver. Not every woman has a natural caregiving instinct and that’s ok.
That said, women who are caregiving for their older loved ones constantly beat themselves up and feel guilty frequently when they have done nothing wrong because they feel like they’ve not “done enough.” If you are caring for an older loved one and you aren’t feeding him, that’s something to feel guilty about. If you are taking a half hour to exercise, that is not something you should feel guilty about. Self-care is absolutely essential to providing good care to an older or sick loved one in the family.
Caregiving impacts women more than ever. If you are a female caregiver struggling with guilt, take steps to extricate yourself from those damaging thoughts and feelings. Join a support group, consider seeing a psychotherapist or simply embrace the fact that caregivers, including you, are imperfect.
Jennifer L. FitzPatrick – MSW, LCSW-C, CSP
The founder of Jenerations Health Education, Inc., Jennifer FitzPatrick has over 20 years’ experience in healthcare and gerontology. The author of Cruising Through Caregiving: Reducing The Stress of Caring For Your Loved One, she is also a gerontology instructor at Johns Hopkins University and an Education Consultant to the Alzheimer’s Association. She helps you reduce stress and increase productivity, morale and revenue. Jennifer and Cruising Through Caregiving have been featured in Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, The Huffington Post, Reader’s Digest, Univision and The Chicago Tribune. She has also appeared on ABC and Sirius XM.