Senior Health

Feeling Guilty When the Caregiver's Role Ends

Feeling Guilty When the Caregiver's Role Ends

When someone you cared for passes away, you will have many mixed feelings. Some are sad, others are anger, but you may also feel relief.

Your caregiving duties are over. You no longer have to put your life on hold to take care of medical emergencies. You do not need to help them bathe, put them to bed, prepare meals, and listen out for their footsteps throughout the night. But, most importantly, you do not longer have to watch them suffer with a painful illness or a forgotten memory.

Caregivers may believe all of these emotions are selfish. But the emotions of a caregiver are complex and confusing, especially after the person they have cared for passes away.  

Emotions of a caretaker: What happens in the end?

With Alzheimer's, you care for your loved one for months, even years. The disease often puts the whole family's life on hold and makes them live in a constant state of worry and of tension. It’s hard not to think about what you did before you spent your days taking care of someone else.

But then those chores and duties come to an end, the tension goes away. This is the time to feel relief and think about every activity you had to put on hold because of Alzheimer's.  However, with relief, there may also be feelings of guilt and even anger.

Try not to feel guilty

These feelings of relief are normal. In order to move forward, you must accept the guilt you will undoubtedly feel after your loved one is gone. Accept your emotions, talk them out and take solace in the fact that you did all that you could to care for them.

It's important to remember that although you feel relief after your caregiving career is over, you will not forget your loved one. Savor the time you have spent with them and honor your loved one by remembering the good times they enjoyed throughout their life.

Now it's your turn to find joy in living. No one wants anyone to feel regretful and forget who they actually are.

So, with that in mind, caregivers shouldn't regret their feelings of relief, or even their feelings of pride. Know that you have done all that you could possibly do and take pride that you were there for them when they needed you.

It's normal to feel relief, anger and some guilt after your loved one passes away with Alzheimer's. But you must learn how to balance your feelings. Read on to find some tips and resources that we hope will help you get by.