Caregiver Guilt: What It Is, How to Cope

As a caregiver for an older loved one, do you ever feel guilt? Maybe you feel as if you aren’t doing enough, or you resent not having enough time for all of your other life responsibilities, such as work and spending time with family and friends. 

If you experience caregiver guilt, you’re not alone. Caregiving is often a thankless, stressful task. With the family dynamics often involved with the person you are caring for, it’s an area that is ripe for feelings of guilt.

Caregiver guilt is so common that researchers have even separated the guilt into different categories, according to the website Being Patient

  • Guilt over doing things wrong
  • Guilt over thinking that you are not doing enough
  • Feeling guilt over not taking time to take care of yourself—or feeling guilt when you do actually make the time for self care
  • Feeling guilt over not spending enough time with other important people in your life
  • Guilt over angry feelings toward others (for example, anger toward other family members who could have a bigger role in caring for your older loved one but they don’t)

Feeling the guilt is normal, but wallowing in it is not healthy. There are a few steps you can take to acknowledge the guilt that you feel but then turn your emotions to something more positive:

  • Realize it’s OK to make mistakes. If you’re feeling guilt over things that you have done wrong, remind yourself that you’re human and it will happen. You’re still making the heroic effort to take care of your loved one, and that says a lot about who you are.
  • Find out where you can seek more boots-on-the-ground support. You can’t do it all! No one can. Where can family, friends, volunteers, or even paid help come in to do certain things you have trouble doing? Do you have friends or family members who want to chip in and help in some way but you usually say no? Take them up on their offer this time around. Having others help out, either regularly or occasionally, can help you be a stronger caregiver in the long run.
  • Make some time for yourself. To quote from the Being Patient article, caregivers often don’t just put self-care on the back burner…they usually take it off the stove altogether. Unfortunately, neglecting self-care can affect both your physical and mental health, and may even lead to chronic pain and disease. Carve whatever time you can daily and/or weekly to do something you enjoy, even if it’s just sitting quietly with a cup of coffee every morning or chatting with a friend.
  • Find forgiveness. This means forgiveness for yourself. Maybe you made a mistake in something you did for your loved one, or you lost your patience one day when you didn’t mean to. This is where self-forgiveness comes into play. 
  • Talk to others in your same or similar situation. Caregiving can feel isolating, but there are millions like yourself out there. Ask local health or care facilities about caregiving support groups available either virtually or in person. Sometimes, just talking with others about your experiences can make a difference in how you feel. 

Call Secure Aging to Find Out How We Can Help Seniors With Financial Management

At Secure Aging in Bradenton, we transform the weight of the world into a sigh of relief for our senior clients and their concerned family members. The mission of Secure Aging is to protect and preserve our client’s independence and dignity through careful and thoughtful financial and care management. As our clients age, it is their desire to remain independent and age with dignity. Our services protect our clients from talented con artists looking to exploit and deplete the financial resources of our vulnerable seniors. Secure Aging helps families in Manatee County and Sarasota County and in and around the communities of Anna Maria, Bradenton, Bradenton Beach, Ellenton, Holmes Beach, Lakewood Ranch, Longboat Key, Myakka City, Palmetto, Parrish, and Sarasota. Call us at 941-761-9338, or visit us online at

Comments are closed.