Don’t Fall for the Caregiver Guilt Trap: Two Common Myths

caregiver guilt

Don’t let caregiver guilt make you feel inadequate

Common misconceptions about how caregivers should feel or what they should do and the guilt that comes from not living up to those unreasonable standards can really hurt you.

These beliefs can push you to take on unrealistic responsibilities or avoid getting the help you need and deserve. They can also cause you to be too hard on yourself, which only adds to your stress.

No caregiver should feel guilty or inadequate because what they’re doing doesn’t suit someone else’s expectations. That goes double if that person isn’t a caregiver and isn’t willing to help out!

We share 2 common myths about what caregivers should do and explain the truth behind these ridiculous assumptions.



Myth #1: If you don’t provide hands-on personal care, you’re not a family caregiver.

Popular belief: You can only call yourself a family caregiver if you help your older adult with tasks like bathing, dressing, eating, etc. If you aren’t doing personal care, whatever you are doing doesn’t count.

Truth: That’s absolutely false! Everything you do for your older adult is important and makes a big difference in their lives. Imagine what would happen if you didn’t do those things – disaster!

There are many roles a caregiver can take on. For example, you might spend hours managing your dad’s finances. Or you could work closely with a geriatric care manager to make sure your mom, who lives across the country, has the best care possible.

Some caregivers manage and accompany their senior to any and all medical appointments. 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 burden others by asking for help.

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 doing a bad job.

Truth: No caregiver should ever feel like they should be doing everything alone. That’s what causes severe chronic stress, physical illness, and burnout.

Caregiving is 100% a team activity. It doesn’t matter if your team is made up of family, friends, or hired professionals. Trying to do it alone isn’t healthy and isn’t sustainable.

You’ve heard the saying “it takes a village to raise a child,” right? Well, it’s the same for caring for your older adult. Caregivers need and deserve help.


Bottom line

Don’t let these misguided beliefs and unrealistic expectations about caregiving hurt you by causing guilt, severe chronic stress, or burnout.

It’s important to do what’s right for your older adult, but it’s equally important to care for yourself, get the help you need, and feel good about what you’re doing.


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By DailyCaring Editorial Team
Image: Continuum Care

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