Balancing Caregiver Guilt

You can’t do it all. It’s not your fault!


So often, it’s coulda/shoulda with caregivers. No matter how much they do, they seem to feel as though it’s never enough– perhaps because our loving inclination is to try to heal or solve the problems our loved one is having. Even though we know that we can’t do it, there is always that nagging feeling that you might be able to if only you’d try harder, give up more of yourself, your life, found something — anything — that could do it. What we know in our mind is often at war with what we struggle with in our gut. It’s not healthy for either us or our loved one, and is, ultimately, not helpful to the situation. But even if you can’t completely dominate that nagging guilt, you can, with logic, persistence and support of those who have been there done that, assuage it.

Talking with others who’ve been there done that helps.

2016 Friendly Caregiver Awarded book, OK Now What? A Caregiver’s Guide to What Matters (Head to Wind Publishing)  offers suggestions for balancing guilt with reality.

Available Amazon


Resolutions and Daily Life


I’ve never been a believer in  thinking up New Year’s resolutions because for one thing, they’re usually the stuff I’ve been trying to accomplish or delete all year long, and stressing over it during the last few days of every year, when life is stressful enough, just seems counterproductive to me. Having said that, some of my friends make them, and find the annual deadline helpful. Some even achieve them! Today’s Caregiver Magazine (who gave us an award for our book — thanks thanks!) has the same kind of suggestions that we, and virtually every other person who has done/seen or been recruited into caregiving subscribes to. If you’re a January 1-resolution-person, AND are a caregiver (though many of them work just as well for those who are simply trying to improve our own lives and live the best way we can day by day), they’re spot-on.

National Family Caregiver Month Day 30

Sue Collins


 We are grateful to everyone for taking time to read our daily post during the month of November for National Family Caregiver Month. We hope you found the posts inspirational and have learned not to sweat the small stuff and to realize you cannot fix everything. When you begin to feel stress, STOP and take 3 deep breaths to center yourself.

As we approach the Holiday Season we would like to share an old post: Sue’s Favorite Smoothie to give your immune system a boost.

Sue’s Favorite Smoothie11401584_951767381512252_8341760167575151887_n

I have never been a fan of taking multi vitamins for several reasons: cost; the neon colored urine, which seems unnatural; and honestly, I forget to take the darn pills. For me making a smoothie is easy, plus I can control what I put into the smoothie (and my urine does not change colors — unless you add beets, which I don’t, I prefer to eat them!).


Greens: A handful. I use lacinato kale or spinach or a    combination

Banana: ½

Blueberries: 6-10 berries. I use frozen unless in season…

Fresh fruit in season

Flax seed oil: one tablespoon

Cinnamon: one teaspoon

Tumeric powder: one teaspoon

Protein powder: I use 2 Tablespoons of plant-based protein

Almond milk: between ½ to one cup depending on the fresh fruit used and

the desired consistency.

Blend together and enjoy

Greens: I prefer Lucinato Kale because I find it to be less bitter tasting then curly kale. Greens help detoxify the body, give you energy, helps with digestion and strengthens the immune system.

Banana: Rich in Potassium and vitamin B6, helps support heart function.

Blueberry: An antioxidant and some Vitamin C

Flax seed oil: Omega 3 thus it helps lower cholesterol

Cinnamon: Supports heart health, known to lower cholesterol

What Matters Most? Making care of yourself a priority.

Copyright © 2016 by Sue Collins and Nancy Taylor Robson. All rights reserved

National Family Caregiver Month Day 29

Bonus Day From The Leaders

 As we wrap up the daily posts for The National Family Caregiver Month, it seems fitting to repeat the words of wisdom from the experts who contributed to our blog.

We asked the following caregiving leaders: If you could give a caregiver only ONE piece of advice for their self-care, what would it be?

thGary Barg: CEO of and Today Caregiver’s Magazine:

The most important thing you can do to support the loved one for whom you care is to care for yourself as well.



thDr Bernie Seigel: R
etired surgeon and author of numerous books on the relationship between the patient and the healing process. He is best known for his book Love, Medicine and Miracles.

I am a caregiver for my wife, 50 years of MS. When going through hell ask yourself what am I to learn from this experience. Learn to surrender you can’t fix everything.



aaeaaqaaaaaaaajlaaaajgvjywrhmgzjltgwnzgtnguwos1iymvmltvinzk0yjewogm3zgMarian Grant: Director of Policy and Professional Engagement at The Coalition to Transform Advanced Care (C-TAC).

My advice would be that caring for a loved one is like running a marathon and you have to pace yourself. It will do no one any good if the caregiver sacrifices their health and well being for their loved one as both will suffer. Of course, this is easier said than done, but most caregivers in a longterm caregiving situation figure this out.

The theme here is clear self care for a caregiver is paramount to surviving and maintaining yourself in order to be an effective, healthy and balanced caregiver.

What Matters Most? Attitude, balance, connections, peace and love.

National Family Caregiver Month Day 25

splash-ttam-2015-1-1Its Black Friday!

If you enjoy rushing through an open store door after standing in line all night (perhaps in the cold) to get ‘the big bargain’ more power to you! Different strokes for different folks makes the world go round. Before you get lost in traffic jams and frustrated crowds, consider this: While you are out doing holiday shopping for loved ones, don’t forget the family member who is a 24/7 caregiver!   Grab a gift and drop it off after shopping to show your appreciation for the good care they are providing a loved one. Do you have a loved one living in a long term care facility?   Pick up some of their favorite food and drop by for a visit. Have a meal delivered to the home of the caregiver and loved one. If you are visiting from out of town offer a respite to the caregiver or have someone provide respite and take the caregiver out to dinner and a movie.

What matters most? Remembering those family members making it possible for you to participate in Black Friday

National Family Caregiver Month Day 24

Happy Thanksgiving

getfileattachment The 1994 edition of the Webster’s Dictionary defines thanksgiving as follows: 1.the act of giving thanks; grateful acknowledgment of benefits or favors, esp to God. 2. an expression of thanks, esp to God. 3. A public celebration in acknowledgement of divine favor or kindness.

Thanksgiving is a good day to reflect on gratitude, not forced but offered. Today roll it back to the basics, go back to the adage: it’s the little things that matter most.

Consider the five senses.

  1. Nose. Start with being grateful for the breath; so obvious and yet taken for granted. Smells wafting from the kitchen, flowers, perfume and COFFEE!
  2. Eyes that see colors, brightness, sunsets, faces, smiles and reflection in the mirror
  3. Ears that hear sounds, voices, music, laughter and silence
  4. Mouth that tastes, speaks, sings and kisses
  5. Hands hold, touch, pet, lift and applaud

Expanding from the five senses, consider health, focusing on the positive. Thanks for family, friends and extended family. For a new day, a pet to cuddle with,  for a warm bed, for shelter (thinking about those with none), for being a caregiver. Make a list in your journal at the end of the day. When you are having a difficult time, referring back to what you wrote can be beneficial.

What matters most? Being thankful for the small thingsimages-3
Copyright © 2016 by Sue Collins and Nancy Taylor Robson. All rights reserved




What matters most? Being connected!



Copyright © 2016 by Sue Collins and Nancy Taylor Robson. All rights reserved


National Family Caregiver Month Day 23

Just stopping to talk sometimes helps


There are days when you feel like a hamster on a wheel, spinning and going nowhere. Wandering in the house from room to room forgetting your intention, which becomes clear when you return to where you started. By the end of the day all the back and forth can leave you feeling both exhausted and unproductive. Providing service to a loved one can also leave a feeling of anxiety and insecurity. How do yo have fewer struggles and  find ease?

  1. Explore where you are.
  2. Ask yourself where you want to be.
  3. Find a goal that is uplifting and feels good.
  4. Seek understanding and compassion.
  5. Reconnect with yourself and loved one through meditation or prayer

What matters most? Being connected!

Sit outside with a friend

Copyright © 2016 by Sue Collins and Nancy Taylor Robson. All rights reserved