The Caregiver Action Network reports that “more than 65 million people, 29% of the U.S. population, provide care for a chronically ill… or aged family member or friend during any given year and spend an average of 20 hours per week providing care for their loved one…”
However, there may come a time when your parent or relative’s condition reaches a point where you can no longer provide the care that they need, making transitioning them to a senior care community the best option for your family. As reluctant as you may be to this idea, know that it is normal for you to feel guilty about this decision, and you are not alone.
Learning how to deal with and heal from feelings of guilt is crucial to your mental health and the health of your parent or family member. The Pavilion Senior Living has senior care communities in Tennessee and West Virginia, and we understand how you feel. We want to share some tips on overcoming the feelings of guilt involved with transitioning a parent into a senior living community.
Acknowledge Your Feelings
The first step to overcoming feelings of guilt when considering senior care options is acknowledging your feelings. Give yourself permission to feel what you need to feel and understand that you are going through a significant change and adjustment alongside your loved one.
Know that You Have Not Failed as a Caregiver
A common reason family caregivers feel guilty about transitioning their parent or relative to a senior living community is because they feel as though they have failed as a caregiver. This could not be further from the truth. By selecting the appropriate level of senior care, you are “making a smart decision to keep them safe and get them the level of care they need.”
This transition does not mean that you are no longer caring for your parent or relative; your involvement is still a crucial aspect of their care. For instance, you communicate with team members at the community, provide feedback and help manage their care plan, and spend as much time with your loved one as possible.
Understand that You are Making the Right Decision
“This can be hard to accept, especially if you’ve made a promise to a loved one in the past that you can no longer keep. A change in a situation may force you to break that promise, but realize that the promise was made under different circumstances. You are making the best decision with new circumstances (caregiver.com).”
You have done your research and have decided that senior care is the best option for your family’s situation. The community or care option that you choose will provide the best possible care to your parent or family member, allowing you to focus on being a daughter, son, friend, etc. Take comfort in the fact that you are making the right decision and are providing them with the opportunity to live a higher quality of life.
Help Make the Transition Easier for Your Parent
Once you know that your parent or relative is comfortable, this will help you deal with the feelings of guilt brought on by changing their care in the first place. Make the transition and move as easy as possible for your loved one. You are not abandoning them; continue to visit and spend time with them as you would before the transition.
Realize You are Not Alone
Every day, individuals decide that they can no longer serve as the primary caregiver for a parent or loved one. You are not alone through this significant transition and are certainly not the only family caregiver dealing with feelings of guilt. Seek out a support group for family caregivers and talk to other individuals who have gone through a similar situation.
Every situation is different, so it is important to remember not to compare yourself or your circumstances to others. The Pavilion Senior Living works hard to make the transition into senior care as smooth as possible for everyone involved. Contact The Pavilion for more information on our communities and the services we provide.