There was a lovely article in the Daily Mail the other day called “I reversed Mum’s dementia… just by moving her in with me.”, written by someone who’d sacrificed her business and financial position and was devoting her life to caring for her mother. The strapline was ‘She was in a care home but being showered with love at home has transformed her’.
Then the next day, there was another article written by someone who ‘confessed’ that “all I felt was relief when my mother died”. The headline in the paper was that it ‘sounds callous’ and is an ‘utterly candid account that dares to tell the truth about caring for a parent ravaged by dementia’.
But hold on a minute…isn’t having these articles published so close to each other a risk of reinforcing old stereotypes; Sacrificial Daughter good vs. Selfish Daughter bad?
The first lady would register a 10 for virtuosity, but what about the second lady? Listen to the language in the headline ‘callous, confession, ravaged’. I’m sure it wasn’t meant, but there’s an underlying implication of “she’s not as good”.
But you know what, for all carers out there there’s nothing to confess or feel guilty about, no matter how you are choosing to care for your parent. You are, after all, choosing to care!
Some people are real hands-on carers who are endlessly patient and can chat non-stop to their confused relative. But that’s not an option for you if you’re a working-carer. No, they’re the master-planners who still go to work but make all the decisions and get the appropriate people in to help. And both are jolly fine solutions to a difficult problem!
The most important thing is that someone is doing the caring or masterminding the care being done. In other words, ensuring that somebody does it.
So, give yourself a hug. Stop being so hard on yourself, feeling guilty – for what?
This is a transient problem that is temporarily taking over your life. Acknowledge what you can do and work out the best way to achieve the rest. That gives you a definite 10 out of 10 for Virtue and a Gold Star too!
If you’re struggling with Carer Guilt, contact me for support at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
**You might like to try my new course called ‘Care in a Crisis’ to support the resilience of carers; more here**