Coping with Guilt When It’s Time to Move Mom or Dad Into Assisted Living
Mike McClernonJan 1st, 2021
One of the most challenging decisions you will have to make as a caregiver is deciding when/if it’s time to transition your parent or loved one into a senior living community. Being in this position can prompt many feelings, including sadness, apprehension, confusion, and guilt.
However, there may come a time when your parent(s) needs more care and attention than you are able to provide. In these cases, transitioning to an Assisted Living or Memory Care Community may be the best option. That doesn’t make it any easier, though, and the feelings of guilt will still be there.
Assisted Living Locators of Long Island works with older adults and their families to find the right community for them. We’ve seen first-hand the feelings of guilt that family members feel during this time. We want to share some insights on why this happens and how to cope with these feelings.
As with any challenging situation, it’s imperative to remain honest, especially with your parent(s) or family member. Having an open dialogue with them can ensure that everybody’s feelings are heard and recognized. While you may be full of worry, your parent may surprise you and share that they are excited about moving to Assisted Living.
However, in many cases, your parent may be reluctant about the change. According to AARP, 90% of older adults want to remain in their home as they age. If this is the case with your parent(s), you can be put in a challenging position, as you want to do what’s best for them while also respecting their wishes. Discuss with your family why you think this transition is the best thing possible for them, and explain all the benefits of an Assisted Living or Memory Care Community.
Reframing Guilty Thoughts
Once the decision has been made, you may immediately start to feel guilty. While you may not be able to avoid these guilty thoughts and feelings, you can work to recognize these thoughts and replace them with something more positive. Here are some common scenarios family members experience and alternate views that allow for more grace and peace of mind.
Guilty Thought: “I have failed as a daughter/son. I promised to always take care of my parents, no matter how hard it got. I am disappointed that I cannot provide the right support.”
Alternative Thought: “By recognizing that my Mom/Dad needs professional assistance, I am caring for them. I am a smart and responsible daughter/son by realizing that an Assisted Living Community can provide more comprehensive and necessary support than I can provide myself.”
Guilty Thought: “It’s my fault that Dad needs Assisted Living. If I had taken better care of him, he wouldn’t need to move.”
Alternative Thought: “As much as it saddens me, Dad is simply getting older. He has simply begun to require more attention and nothing that I could have done would have stopped that.”
Guilty Thought: “I am worried that my parents will feel like I’ve abandoned them.”
Alternative Thought: “Whether they remain at home or move into an Assisted Living or Memory Care Community, our relationship will not change. I am committed to cherishing them, visiting them, and continuing to be an advocate for them as they get older.”
Guilty Thought: “I feel so bad about moving Mom to an unfamiliar place. She was so used to her house and really felt comfortable there.”
Alternative Thought: “I am so excited about this new adventure for Mom. The Assisted Living Community we chose seems like a lively environment where she can make new friends, try new hobbies, and begin a new chapter in her life!”
Guilty Thought: “I feel relieved that I’m no longer Mom/Dad’s primary caregiver, but that makes me feel even more guilty.”
Alternative Thought: “Caring for my parents was a huge responsibility, and I did the best I could. I’m proud of myself for all that I did, but I am grateful to now have the opportunity to focus on my own health and wellness.”
Don’t Navigate This Alone
We know how difficult and overwhelming the transition into Assisted Living can be, and that’s why we’re there with you every step of the way. Assisted Living Locators of Long Island promises to be your trusted senior care advisor and partner in this journey, ensuring that you and your family find the best community for everyone’s needs. We work with families across Queens and Long Island, including Suffolk and Nassau County. We promise to help your family get the support they deserve.