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Keeping Your Balance
By Hilary Gibson, Staff Writer
(Page 2 of 2)

Join a support group on the Internet or in your city. Itís good to talk to other caregivers who are experiencing the same feelings over placing a person into a long-term care facility. They may have different suggestions that you might not have thought of in order to help ease the guilt over your decision about the transfer. At the same time, you might know something that others need to know, and by being able to help someone, you may feel as though you have more of a purpose.

Experts and studies alike, show that caregiver guilt usually comes from not having the control we think we should have over a particular situation. If things donít go the way we would like, or the way we expect with a caregiving experience, we then blame ourselves. We often rely on the old ďcould have, would have, should haveĒ syndrome, looking for the slightest shred of evidence against ourselves, holding us completely accountable and proving once and for all that somehow we didnít do enough. But what all caregivers must realize is that eventually, emotions of guilt will begin to take a very heavy toll on us, and the weight of the guilt will ultimately hurt everyone involved. Thatís why itís extremely important for caregivers to set very realistic goals, not only regarding our loved one, but also for ourselves. When we donít forgive ourselves and let go of guilt, our own health will suffer as well, and we will experience deeper depression, insomnia and other physical ailments and difficulties.

The single most important thing a caregiver can do to combat guilt is to get involved with community programs, professional resources, and support groups. Get among people with whom you can make your feelings and frustrations known, and where you can share with others who will understand your situation. Whether you decide to keep a loved one at home or you decide upon a long-term care facility, just remember one thing: youíve given your best, and that has been good enough.   

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