Assisted Living

5/24/2021 | By Seniors Guide Staff

Moving your older adult parent, spouse, or other loved one into assisted living is likely one of the most challenging decisions you will have to make. And even though you realize it was the only choice you had, you may still end up overwhelmed by feeling the sadness and guilt of moving a loved one into assisted living.

However, when caring for someone at home becomes all but impossible or even dangerous, moving them to a place where they will receive the safety and care they require is in their best interest.

Yet knowing that you are doing the right thing for a senior loved one often does not mitigate the negative thoughts and feelings that accompany the decision. You may know in your head that your judgment was sound, but your heart will take some time to convince.

Here are a few suggestions to help you cope with the guilt of moving a loved one into assisted living.

Come to terms with the fact that you can’t please everyone or solve every problem

You might have family members or others questioning or second-guessing your decisions. You need to realize that there is a limit to what you can do, and you can’t control everything. There probably won’t ever be a solution for every problem or one that makes everyone happy. Handle whatever is within your capabilities and let go of the rest.

Your loved one might be facing age-related issues or a progressive illness like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s. However, they would still have to contend with their worsening health whether you continued as their caregiver or decided to get professional care for them. Keep telling yourself you are doing your best with a situation you did not create.

Remind yourself that professional care is often a natural and necessary next step

Moving your loved one to assisted living means you seek a higher level of care for them – care that you don’t feel capable of providing. These long-term care facilities provide both enhanced safety and comfort for an aging loved one. They conduct detailed assessments of potential residents before they move in.

If your loved one is accepted because they require skilled nursing care and constant supervision, assisted living is appropriate for them. While there might be alternatives, like in-home health care, these are often quite expensive. Also, understand that this professional help can be a necessary next step to prevent you from burning out as a caregiver and allowing you to have a life away from caregiving. Allow yourself to remove the guilt of moving a loved one into assisted living because, at the end of the day, it’s the best thing for both of you.

Assess your options realistically

Many seniors resist the idea of going into a long-term care facility. In the past, nursing homes sometimes got an unsavory reputation, and many older adults hold on to this image. However, long-term care facilities provide an essential service for families. If you eventually find that your loved one is in an inadequate facility, or if they have been experiencing abuse or neglect, contact the long-term care watchdog responsible for your area. You can find the contact information for your supervisory body on the National Consumer Voice for Long-Term Care website.

Acknowledge that you are doing your best

Providing care for an older adult parent is a thankless job and an enormous responsibility. You will be making decisions about circumstances you are confronting for the first time and dealing with issues that appear to have neither right nor wrong answers. Making a care decision could mean living with the consequences or adjusting on the fly.

Caregivers take on a complicated and challenging role. You do your best with the resources and information at your disposal, so don’t be too hard on yourself if you discover you aren’t perfect!

Move on with your life and let the facility do its job

Once you have decided to move your loved one into assisted living, the lion’s share of your loved one’s care is their responsibility now. You will remain a part of their care team, you will be their advocate, you will visit them often and do things to brighten their day; but your role as primary caregiver has ended, and it’s time to shift over to a life of your own. You deserve it.

Seniors Guide Staff

Seniors Guide has been addressing traditional topics and upcoming trends in the senior living industry since 1999. We strive to educate seniors and their loved ones in an approachable manner, and aim to provide them with the right information to make the best decisions possible.

Seniors Guide Staff