If you have children, no doubt you have experienced parental guilt. Loosely defined, it’s the feeling of angst that comes with knowing that you have not been the best possible parent and that your child will be permanently damaged because of it. Today, that type of guilt is taking the backseat to a different kind of “parental” guilt–the overwhelming feeling that you have not done enough for your aging parents or cannot be with them in their final months or days.
Both types can be consuming and leave you exhausted and miserable. Unfortunately, there is no beating the guilt game. When it comes to your parents, it is difficult to reconcile their needs with the demands of your own life. If you have an ounce of love for your parents, you will feel the guilt that comes with the constant balancing act required to keep them as happy and healthy as possible. That’s human nature. Just remember, you don’t have to succumb to the guilt, just stop fighting it and look for an upside.
These are givens: Your visits will never be long enough, and your phone calls will never be frequent enough. Do what you can to remain in contact given your hectic work and home schedule and congratulate yourself for doing what you can.
Dementia and illness can make even the most pleasant person irritable and demanding. Caretakers and loved ones often feel underappreciated and frustrated with the elderly parent. Those feelings are normal, and it helps to talk about them from time to time with other family members, friends, or even your parent.
Acknowledge that no one wants to be a burden to their children, and your parents never intended to put you in this situation. On both sides of the fence, parents and adult children feel guilty that the situation is beyond anyone’s control and cannot be fixed. Sometimes there is very little to be done to improve their lives other than be sure your loved one is comfortable and surrounded by people who truly care about their well being.
Lisa Vogel is the owner of The Lisa Vogel Agency, a home health care agency providing custodial care on a live-in or hourly basis for clients who require long-term care, rehabilitation care, or hospice care. Learn more about to relieve your parental guilt and ensure your loved ones are well taken care of by contacting the Lisa Vogel Agency at 410-363-7770.