How to Stop Feeling Guilty About Hiring a Carer for Your Ageing Parent

April 26, 2022

Providing care for an ageing parent can be a rewarding experience. It gives the two of you an opportunity to bond and connect in a meaningful way.

But it’s okay to also acknowledge that caregiving can be demanding and exhausting.

This is especially true if a parent has Alzheimer’s disease or a life-limiting illness that requires extensive support.

Older woman being comforted by a younger woman.

It’s common for family carers to experience their own health issues, ranging from more frequent colds and headaches to back problems and digestive issues.

The stress of being responsible for the well-being and safety of a loved one is another reality. It can trigger difficult emotions, including guilt, fear, and sadness.

Watching their health decline isn't easy when a person has been a pivotal part of your life. Not knowing what help they will need next or what tasks you may be required to perform can compound the stress.

Feeling guilty is common – you are not alone. When an adult child thinks they’ve made a mistake with an ageing parent’s care or missed an appointment, the shame can be overwhelming.

While they may recognise they can’t do it all alone, they often feel guilty about hiring a home care provider to help. They often believe they are duty-bound to find a way to handle all the care their parent needs.

A few more emotional struggles that family carers may grapple with include:

  • Resenting the time involved in caring for a parent, even if the feeling is fleeting
  • Feeling upset at having to give up time that may have been spent with close friends
  • Comparing themselves to other carers who seem to be “better” at it or have it all together
  • Experiencing anger toward the older person, even while knowing they can’t help being unwell

Finding healthy ways to manage carer guilt is important. Here are a few suggestions.

Managing Guilt When Caring for an Ageing Parent

Here are a few tips for managing the roller-coaster of difficult emotions family carers experience every day.

1.  Acknowledge your feelings

The first step is to admit how you are feeling. Acknowledge your emotions and give yourself permission to feel what you feel, whether it is fear, guilt, anger or sadness.

It’s okay to accept that you need to hire a professional carer because you are worn out and need a break.

Few family members can provide care for a loved one entirely on their own. While it may not entirely relieve those difficult emotions right away, it might help you begin to find peace.

2.  Believe it is for the best

Enlisting a home care team to supplement the support you provide to a parent is an ideal arrangement. You will have peace of mind knowing that professionals with experience in ageing are involved and monitoring the situation.

It also allows you and your loved one to maintain a more normal dynamic. Instead of trying to be the sole provider of health care to an ageing parent, you can spend your time together enjoying one another’s company.

3.  Join a carer support group

Carer support groups are another effective way to learn to manage difficult emotions. When you connect with fellow carers, you’ll quickly learn that what you are feeling is normal. Every carer experiences these emotions from time to time. Having that reinforced by peers can be liberating.

If you aren’t sure if it’s a good option for you or don’t know how to find one, Carer Gateway’s Community Forum might be a good place to start. It’s a safe, anonymous resource for family carers to explore.

Home Care Costs

If concerns about expenses are keeping you from exploring in-home care for your ageing parent, rest assured there are a variety of ways to pay. Visit Home Care Costs to learn more!