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Guilt & anxiety - Carers UK Forum

Guilt & anxiety

Share your ideas about the practical side of caring.
Hi! Can anyone share with me how they manage to cope with the feelings of guilt and anxiety?
I care for my Father who has poor vision, poor hearing and COPD. He has just started living alone and I do have support for him from Social Services but I am suffering from terrible guilt about him being there alone yet I am terrified of having him live with me! So I feel very guilty and cruel and spend a lot of time worrying about him. Since I have been widowed I can empathise how he must feel having to live on his own. The difference is, is that I can cope as I am relatively healthy, mobile and have a social life. My Father doesn't. I am doing all I can to look after him and help him not become isolated but I feel so sad for him. My mother recently went I to a hospice and won't be coming home so he is grieving for her as well.
Does all this anxiety pass eventually or is it something as carers we have to just grin and bear?
Catherine, does dad have a "Lifeline"? A special phone linked to a call centre?
The most obvious solution to dad's situation is residential care - so he has his meals provided for him. Maybe you could find out from the Care Quality Commission what is available in your area? Perhaps you and dad could have a discussion - if he doesn't settle in within 3/6/12 months, then he will consider residential. Once you have found the nicest home he can afford, maybe he could try a week's respite to see what he thinks? Make it clear though, that moving in with you is an impossibility.
Hello Catherine,

guilt, anxiety etc, etc - they are all the things that most Carer's experience at some point in their caring journey so you're definitely not alone. They never actually 'go away' totally but, with time, they become easier to live with. The very fact that you feel this way shows that you are a good and loving daughter.

You're in a difficult situation - caught between a rock and a hard place - what with one parent being in a care home and the other living alone (is that in a supported living environment ?) and you trying to oversee care for both of them - it's not easy is it ? But you, also, are entitled to YOUR life and to live it the way that is best for you.

What I would suggest is exploring the possibilities of Day Centres, Social Clubs etc in your area that your Dad could attend. Social Services should have a list of such places (many of the clubs in our area are 'special interest' ones - photography, local history, walking, music etc).
Hi Catherine

As my mum grew less mobile and stopped driving she began to say things like 'put me in a home' but when I found an excellent place for her in a retirement village a few miles away from me she refused it and opted to buy a sheltered apartment (the third one she's had) which is practically on my doorstep. Trouble is, there is very little socialising between residents, just the weekly coffee morning. Exactly the same as in her previous flat.

She is so unsteady on her feet that she only dares to go out when I can take her, so Social Clubs are out, really. She is also quite deaf but won't wear a hearing aid.

Now she constantly says she's lonely, and though it tears me up I do think there is a limit to what one adult can do to take another adult's unhappy feelings away. I take her out twice a week, drop in at least two other days and phone her as well. When I went on holiday for a week last year she told me exactly how lonely she was going to be and how much she would miss me. Far from making me feel compassion I felt rather cross as the guilt spoiled my holiday. And then of course guilty for feeling cross :angry:
Dad has the emergency cords in all his rooms, a Careline pendant that he wears and the sheltered accommodation manager checks in with him every morning. At the moment there are carers coming in twice a day & I'm seeing if we can afford a hot meals service in the middle of the day so someone else is making contact with Dad as well as my visits.
We had a talk about him going into a care home even seeing if he could go to the same one as Mum by he said No! I suppose I just have to see how he gets on physically. I would imagine at some point it may get too much for him & then he will consider a care home. One of the problems is that my Mum did absolutely everything for him so he feels rejected if I'm not running around doing it all and he also is having to work hard at developing coping strategies rather quickly! It's a waiting game I suppose. I'm just in a state of dread at the moment for the first disaster. It's strangely reassuring that I'm not the only one who feels like this.
Thanks bowlingbun!
Thanks for your kind words. Dad is in sheltered accommodation with reasonable support. The whole change to our situation as a family happened so quick so having to act swiftly probably also makes me feel callous at getting him off to his new place so quickly. I just felt the quicker he was resettled then the quicker his new life would have a new routine for him. I will just have to learn to live with the guilt and anxiety and hope it's pans out a bit. What I'm really sad about is realising that no matter how frail my Dad may become, I know I can't live with him & that makes me sad but I think I would become depressed and sort of slip into being like my mother and I do really want a life before I get too old!!
Hi Starfish
My Dad can be quite sociable. His deafness can make it a bit hard for him but he does give it a go! I will investigate Day Centres etc and see how he gets on.
I have already started fretting about what he will do if I go on holiday!
I have to find a way to calm myself down I think and make time and space for myself!
I'm sorry your Mum made you feel bad about having a holiday. Elderly parents really can tug at the heart strings!
Thanks for your support.
Dad has made his choice, and has to accept all the consequences. If he chooses to live alone rather than in a care home, he must be aware of the risks, but would rather take those risks than live elsewhere. It is what he wants. You know that he has absolutely everything arranged for him, he can call for help in an instant with his Lifeline, has carers in regularly. My mum could only shuffle with a Zimmer frame, with carers 3 times a day, but she lived happily on her own for many years like that. What are you afraid of? Would it help to make a list, and then ask yourself if they were actually real risks? With all the help and support dad now has, the chance of there being a "disaster" might even be less than before. Try to avoid thinking that this, that, or the other might happen. If and when anything happens, you will deal with it. There are plenty of people keeping an eye on him, who will hopefully do everything possible to avoid any disaster ever happening. In the next few weeks, try to build up your confidence in his arrangements by going out for the day, chilling out. Like other things in life, it takes practice!
Its very early days.
Your mum is in a hospice and your dad has had to move - two very stressful things for both of you. Its going to take a while to adjust. Day centres and clubs are a good idea. Then try and back off a bit - all the while you are doing things to ease his loneliness you will be stopping him from making new friends.
Thanks bowlingbun and crocus,
Sound advice. I think I'm very tired and I know it's then that things can loom out of proportion!
Thank you!