Navigating the Guilt of Moving a Loved One to Assisted Living
For many families, it’s heartbreaking to watch their older loved ones struggle as they try to maintain an independent life while living at home.
You may have witnessed their declining success at housekeeping, shopping and preparing healthy meals, or even handling the simplest tasks of daily life.
The guilt adult children experience while worrying about their parents living alone is often partnered with fear. Sleepless nights and anxious days become more common as families look for an answer and if the answer is assisted living.
Searching for a caregiving solution
When searching for ways to help a loved one, options might include:
- Trying to find more hours in a day to provide the extra help themselves
- Hiring an agency to supply companion visits or assistance
- Relying on neighbors and friends to pitch in when they can
However, the best solution is often taking advantage of the services and benefits an assisted living community can offer. Yet even the reassurance of this quality care can cause guilt to be experienced once again.
Assisted living and guilt
Families are often surprised to discover these feelings after the decision has been made with their loved ones that home is no longer the safest place to live.
If an assisted living community will provide the highest quality of life, why is there still remorse? The following are typical triggers for feeling guilty:
1. Your parents didn’t want to move
If your parents were hesitant to move to an assisted living community, you might feel guilty. Discussions about moving may have been stressful and you might regret that you weren’t able to support the wishes of those you love.
2. Your parents are sad to leave their home
Moving from home can trigger feelings of loss. This may have been the place where they planned their future together, raised their children and celebrated milestone birthdays and anniversaries. Guilt can arise if you feel responsible for their sadness.
3. You didn’t move them in with you
Adult children often struggle with guilt over not asking their parents to move in with them. However, your home may not be age-friendly or your own family commitments might make this difficult. Ask yourself if they would be alone during the day while you’re at work or if you could provide the many benefits of a community.
4. You are struggling to accept that they need help
Families often grapple with accepting that things have changed. Their parents have grown older and are no longer strong and in-charge as they once were. Now they need help. Difficulty in accepting this can trigger guilt.
5. You believe that you should be their caregiver, not someone else
It’s not uncommon for adult children to believe they should somehow be able to do it all, no matter how far they are stretched. For some, moving their parents to assisted living is an acknowledgment of defeat – and guilt – that they should be the caregiver and not relinquish the responsibility to someone else.
Download our complimentary guide Choosing the Right Senior Living Community: A Step by Step Guide for Making an Informed Decision.
Tips to alleviate assisted living guilt
If you are experiencing guilt after your loved ones move into an assisted living community, consider these suggestions to help. Like your parents, you too deserve a good life and feeling guilty will interfere with its quality:
1. Accept that you can’t do everything
If you are working and raising your own children, where would you find the time to care for your loved ones as they deserve? You only have 24 hours a day. Your parents would not want you to sacrifice your own life to become their caregiver.
2. Know that you are still their primary caregiver
Because you may not be able to physically provide attention doesn’t mean you are not still their primary caregiver. Your responsibility is to make sure they are safe and receiving the best care possible. Finding the right assisted living community will ensure that happens.
3. Accept that this move is an expression of your love and concern
Researching, visiting and planning the move to assisted living with your parents is an expression of your love. You are taking responsibility for their well-being. You shouldn’t feel guilty for prioritizing their care.
4. Help them with the transition
Any move can be a challenging time but being there to help with this transition will also make you feel better. Reassure your loved ones that you will be there to create and celebrate their new home.
5. Continue to express your love
Just because they will no longer be living in their existing home doesn’t mean that you won’t be involved in sharing their lives. But assisted living allows you to return to your role of son or daughter. You can surrender being the sole provider of care.
Discover life at a Northbridge community.
If you’re considering senior living for yourself or a family member, we hope you’ll visit one of our communities. You’ll find a maintenance-free, activity-filled and engaging lifestyle to help support your wellness goals.
You’ll also discover many benefits in a Northbridge Senior Living community, including our Signature Program S.T.A.R. Club (Sharp Thinking, Active Residents) – which offers our residents several activities to participate in with others, including:
Daily exercise group
- Walking club
- Tai Chi & yoga
- Nutritional classes
- Library and book club
- Museum outings
- Artists in residence program
- Multi-generational music
- Genealogy Generations
We’re here to answer any of your questions and invite you to download our complimentary guide Choosing the Right Senior Living Community: A Step by Step Guide for Making an Informed Decision. Please contact us if we can provide further information or if you would like to schedule a personalized tour.