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Dealing With The Guilt Of Placing A Parent In A Nursing Home/Senior Living

Dealing With the Guilt of Placing a Parent in a Nursing Home/Senior Living

The golden years can be a peaceful and fulfilling time in life, but they also come along with many changes. In addition to the change of pace in their day-to-day lives, many seniors will also need to move from their homes into assisted living communities in order to maintain their safety and quality of life. 

If you’re facing the prospect of moving your aging parent into senior living, guilt may be just one of the many feelings you’re experiencing. While your parent’s health and well-being are the top priority during this transition, you shouldn’t sacrifice your mental health in the process. That’s why learning how to deal with feelings of guilt in this situation is crucial. 

What Causes These Feelings of Guilt?

Why might an adult child feel guilt about deciding to move their aging parent to a nursing home? There are a few reasons why you may experience this type of emotion. 

Role Reversal

Throughout childhood and often into young adulthood, parents are the ones making decisions for their children. Once parents become seniors and need extra support with day-to-day tasks due to reduced mobility, that same type of responsibility can fall to their adult children. 

This reversal of roles often makes both parents and adult children feel uncomfortable, and making decisions for their parents can make children feel guilty. 

Changing Previous Decisions

Perhaps you and your aging parent spoke about senior living in the past, and you agreed together that moving out of their home just wasn’t for them. However, circumstances can change, and moving into a facility staffed with healthcare professionals can become necessary. 

Even though you may be making the best choice for your parent’s health, going against your previous decision could cause guilty feelings. 

Perceived Failure

If you’ve been working as your parent’s primary caregiver, deciding to transition them to a senior home could make you feel like you’ve failed in your role. Even if a move to assisted living is the best choice for their health and safety, this transition can be just as hard for adult children caregivers as it is for the parent.

How to Process Guilt Around Placing Parents in Senior Living

You may feel like your guilt is coming from just one angle of your parent-child relationship or from multiple angles. No matter why you’re feeling this way, remember that you have many other options. Your happiness is important, too, and you can still be a source of support for your parent during their transition while also caring for yourself.

Rely on Your Support System

You don’t have to go through your feelings of guilt alone. Reach out to your close friends and family members (other than your aging parent) to talk things out and get your feelings off your chest. Local support groups can also be a great option for connecting with other adults in similar situations. 

Know Your Feelings Are Normal

Feeling shameful about your guilt can make the emotion more complex and harder to deal with. Remember that feeling guilty in this situation is normal. In fact, it shows just how much you care about your relationship with your parent and their quality of life.

Remember Why It’s Necessary

If you’re struggling with guilt as you research senior living facilities for your parent, remember why you’re doing so in the first place. Your parent’s health has reached a point where it’s no longer safe for them to live at home. Your choice to support their well-being in assisted living is a wise decision as well as a compassionate one.  

Do Your Research

There are various types of senior living facilities and many of them will have different specializations and unique offerings. You can reduce the difficulty of this transition (and your guilt around it) by doing plenty of research to find the right place for your parent and their needs. 

Place Your Loved One in the Care of Professionals

Even though many difficult feelings can come up during the process, moving to a senior living facility could be an essential step in making sure that your parent’s golden years are as enjoyable as possible.

Is In-Home Care a Viable Option?

Exploring home care options can help circumvent the distressing guilt often linked with placing loved ones in nursing homes. Elderly individuals typically lean towards aging in their own familiar surroundings, a preference that home care services readily accommodate. By receiving quality care within the comforting embrace of home, seniors can often bypass the need for a nursing home residency altogether.

Home care offers a versatile approach, allowing for tailored adjustments to address diverse care requirements. Families selecting home care can select from a range of options such as short-term respite care, round-the-clock assistance, live-in support, or specialized post-surgical care, among other possibilities.

Our caregivers offer thorough, non-medical support encompassing personal hygiene assistance, transportation to medical appointments, grocery shopping, meal preparation, companionship, and more. Additionally, we specialize in providing high-quality memory care tailored to seniors at any stage of dementia – all of which can serve as an alternative to nursing homes or senior living.

If you or your family member is considering in-home care as part of a plan to age in place, contact Family Matters In-Home Care today for a free consultation.  Our team is dedicated to supporting your family and helping older adults enjoy life in the comfort of their own home for as long as possible.

Some of the services offered by Family Matter In-Home Care include: Alzheimer’s & Dementia CareBed & Wheelchair Transfer AssistanceCompanionshipHousekeeping & Meal PreparationPersonal CareRecovery Care, and Transportation.

Serving the San Francisco Bay Area and Greater San Diego, Family Matter In-Home Care has offices throughout California.

Carol Pardue-Spears

Carol has worked in the healthcare field for more than forty years. As a Certified Nursing Assistant, she worked for El Camino Hospital in the cardiac unit, Los Gatos Community Hospital, The Women’s Cancer Center in Los Gatos and several home health and hospice agencies. Carol founded Family Matters in 2002 to fill a deficit she witnessed in high-quality, in-home services and care.

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