Stop Feeling Guilty About Placing a Loved One in Assisted Living

Do you feel overwhelmed by the guilt of placing your elderly loved one in an assisted living home?

Moving your older adult into assisted living might be one of the hardest decisions you’ll have to make in your life. So many caregivers are feeling guilty about “put-ting mom in assisted living” – moving their parent, spouse, relative or close friend to assisted living, nursing home or memory care. But when caring for someone at home becomes dangerous or nearly impossible, it’s absolutely necessary to move them to a place where they’ll be safe and get the care they need. While the decision to move an aging parent into assisted living might be riddled with guilt, grief and sadness, remember they are safe, and they will have the best care possible. This transition is often in their best interest and your loved one will be able to enjoy their golden years in good health, with the dignity that they deserve. With that said, understanding what is causing the negative thoughts and emotions can help you over-come the guilt and help your aging loved one make the move into assisted living. While you’re adjusting to the changes, understand what’s causing the guilt can help you accept the decision and reduce emotional stress. There are plenty of misconceptions about placing aging loved ones into assisted living. Here are a few common mistruths that could induce caregiver guilt. Myth: You’ve failed in your duty to care for them. Truth: You are taking good care of them.

Moving someone to assisted living doesn’t mean that you’ve failed to take care of them. It means you’re making a smart decision to keep them safe and get them the level of care they need.

You still spend as much time with them as you can, talk frequently with the staff and manage their overall care. You are taking good care of your older adult and you certainly haven’t abandoned them. Moving your loved one into assisted living does not mean that you have failed as a caregiver. t only means that you cherish your loved one and you want the best for them. With this in mind, you should not feel guilty about the decision that you had to make. Myth: You’re not as good a caregiver as you should be. Truth: You are a great caregiver. Everyone’s situation is different, so it’s not fair to compare yourself to others. It’s also important not to pay too much attention to people who don’t help and don’t understand the real situation. Your senior may have more serious health conditions or need a much higher level of care than is possible for you to provide. If your health is suffering or if someone could get injured, it’s time to make a change. Moving your older adult protects both of your health and safety and allows them to get the care they need. Besides, if you don’t protect your own health, you surely won’t be able to keep caring for them.
Myth: Their health wouldn’t have gotten worse or would have improved if you hadn’t made the move. Truth: Nobody can control health or cognitive ability. It may be true that things would be different if you’d kept them at home. But that doesn’t mean things would be better than they are now. It could actually be much worse. Remember, you made this decision because their health and safety were in danger. Making a change is what had to be done to prevent something terrible from happening.

Bottom line is that taking care of parents is a big job and you might not be the best person for it. It hurts when you have negative thoughts and feelings about a decision you were forced to make. Your heart will need some time to catch up with what you know in your head. Understanding where the guilt is coming from gives you the chance to remind yourself about the reality of the situation. Over time, you’ll be able to fully accept the decision.