According to the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP, there are currently nearly 48 million caregivers in the United States. If you’re one of them you know all too well the rollercoaster of emotions it involves. One of the biggest is guilt, to the point where many continue to put off moving a loved one to senior living even though it would benefit their health and safety. Here’s how to let go of the guilt so you can make the best decisions for your loved one.
Why You Feel Guilty
There are almost too many reasons to count, right? As if it wasn’t hard enough for the dynamic to shift from you as the child to the caregiver, the thought of making decisions as monumental as a move to senior living commonly causes guilt because:
You promised you’d never do it – So many of us have promised our loved ones we’d never put them in a ‘home.’ But in reality, their needs may turn out to be more than you can handle even with the best intentions. What’s more, a move to senior living is nothing like a nursing home. To their surprise, they may thrive in an environment that’s focused on worry-free living and overall wellbeing!
You feel like you’ve failed at caregiving – Realistically, most caregivers are ill-prepared for the role. In addition, you’re likely juggling your own commitments as well which makes it even harder. It’s not that you’ve failed, rather you realize there may be a better way to give them the quality of life they deserve. Not to mention you’ll still be looking after your loved one, just in a different way.
You’re asking too much of them – You may be questioning the fairness of having your loved one uproot their life and leave the place where they are most comfortable at a time where they are struggling the most. Just remember, while there may be some initial adjustments, many seniors later say they wish they’d made the move sooner. That’s how much of a difference the right support can make.
What to Do About It
Don’t let the guilt allow you to second guess your instincts about senior living. Instead, make sure you:
Give yourself grace – Whether you feel guilt, disappointment, fear, frustration, relief or all of the above; it’s okay. In fact, it’s healthy to express those emotions and work through them. Consider talking to friends who’ve been there or looking at caregiving support groups. What’s most important is not to let those feelings consume you.
Make an educated choice – One of the best things you can do for your loved one is to find the senior living community that best fits their needs. Research all the options in your area, talk to the people who know those communities best, visit and ask questions. This will give you more confidence in your decision.
Give it time – It will likely take time for your loved one to adjust to the move and that’s okay. During this process, focus on small victories with them like a lovely view, the food they love (and don’t have to cook!), new friends, no worries about driving or simply that they have the opportunity to be more active. What’s more, now you have the chance to enjoy being their daughter, son, wife or husband again!
Easing the Transition to Senior Living
While we understand that nothing can compare to ‘home,’ there is an alternative to traditional senior living communities that often feel institutional and overcrowded. We refer to it as boutique senior living because it blends the comfort of home with the best features of traditional senior living: quality care and amenities. How? Well for one, care is actually provided in a single-family home!
But not just any home, ours are specially crafted for assisted living or memory care with 10 to 16 residents max and a nearly unheard of 1 to 5 caregiver to resident ratio. This ensures your loved one will have the personalized attention, active lifestyle and amenities they deserve all while in a home environment that feels comfortable and familiar.
Everything from the décor to the large yard to meals served family-style on one of our signature homemade farm tables is designed to support that feeling. Even the location; a charming, neighborhood location in a Midwestern town much like where your loved one may live now. Yet, they’ll still enjoy amenities such as laundry and cleaning services, complimentary Wi-Fi, transportation and safety features such as fall alert pendants, state-of-the-art video monitoring and keypad entry/exit access. Plus, activity programs that include exercises, socialization, cognitive stimulation and immersive activities as well as group outings and live entertainment.
Boutique senior living can make the transition easier for you both by replacing your guilt with peace of mind and giving your loved one a much more appealing option for the move. And you’re always welcome to visit!