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I'm the primary care person for my mom. However I feel resentful for her taking so much of my time - is this normal?


Question:  My mom is in a memory care unit 30 minutes away. I make plans to see her two to three times a week. The facility is wonderful and takes good care of her. Many times, when I leave, I feel resentful for her taking so much of my time. I am the primary care person for her. My sister and brother support me but live out of state and cannot get here to see her often. Is this feeling of resentment normal?

Dr.  Amy:  In my experience, caregivers feel a wide range of emotions. Love, feelings of giving back, gratitude for the opportunity to provide care—as well as anger, resentment, and guilt. All of these feelings are normal. 

If your resentment is tied to the number for visits, maybe you have too much on the go and need some help. Are two to three visits a week too much? Perhaps you can do fewer. Or maybe you can hire a home care worker to visit mom once a week, in your place. That would lessen your load. Home Instead CAREGivers perform this service. They can go to the memory care facility, keep your mom company and also take care of errands she may have. 

At some point, most caregivers need a break from their responsibilities. You might want to hire someone to take over your visiting responsibilities for a week or two. You might also plan to take a break when your brother and sister come to town. Or both!   

If you are feeling a lot of resentment, you may want to get help. As caregivers, each of us has a unique relationship with the person we're caring for. Often, our feelings today are colored by what happened in the past. If you think this is true for you, a support group or counsellor can help you sort out your feelings and feel more at peace.

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