How to Cope With the Decision to Place Your Loved One in Assisted Living

February 23, 2019 at 5:45 pm · · Comments Off on How to Cope With the Decision to Place Your Loved One in Assisted Living

How to Cope With the Decision to Place Your Loved One in Assisted Living

“Am I doing the right thing?” Placing a beloved family member in an assisted living facility is one of the hardest decisions you’ll ever make in life.

You want to give them all the care they need, but it’s become too much for you to handle. You know they need professional care, but that means letting them go. You feel like you’re abandoning them.

The good news is, these are very common feelings and we can help you come to terms with them. If you’re experiencing guilt, anxiety, or grief over placing a loved one in assisted living, read this guide to learn how to cope.

Common Emotional Responses to Assisted Living Admission

Guilt and grief over placing a loved one in assisted living take many forms, some more subtle than others. General anxiety or depression is a common symptom of these unprocessed feelings. Feeling guilt any time you enjoy something is another.

Many also feel an urge to be excessively present at the facility. They’re often distrusting and disapproving of the staff’s ability to provide competent care.

Causes of These Emotional Symptoms

These feelings are usually a manifestation of guilt. It’s natural to feel responsible for caring for your loved ones. When you are unable to provide the level of care they need, it feels as though you have failed at this responsibility.

This sense of failure is compounded when other loved ones, including the patient, hold you to this same expectation of being the primary caregiver. The patient may even have expressly asked you not to place them in a care home.

This sense of failure leads to disappointment, inadequacy, powerlessness, and guilt. The inability to provide adequate care also forces the frightening acknowledgment that the condition is worsening. This invites fear and worries, leading to anxiety.  

Processing These Emotions

Here are the steps to process and overcome these negative emotions.

Admit the Problem

Acknowledge that you’re going through a very difficult transition. Remembering there’s a legitimate reason for these emotions reminds you that what you’re feeling is normal. With such a big change in your life, it’s important to feel normal/make sense of things as much as you can.

Be Realistic and Positive

It would be silly to pretend you’re happy about the situation or that everything’s fine. But it’s just as inappropriate and unhelpful to be overly negative. The proper solution is to be realistic about your options and still remember the upsides.

You know you couldn’t provide enough care on your own. That usually means their needs are too great for any one person to provide. This situation is not your fault or anyone else’s.

Furthermore, assisted living gives them 24-hour, professional medical care, with multiple caregivers at a time. By placing your loved one in assisted living, you are providing them with the best care.

You haven’t failed them.

Provide the Care Only You Can Give

Also, you are now free to care for them in other ways, ways that only you can. You know your loved one’s favorite flowers, games, stories, etc. And you can bring these and other personal displays of affection when you visit.

You can still give them what the care facility can’t: yourself and your time. And these are the most important things you can give.

Learn More About How to Care For Them

You are not alone in this. Ask the assisted living facility for help and learning resources for navigating through this transition. They will help you discover new ways to care for your loved one as you give up your role as the primary caregiver and settle back into your role as a family member or spouse.

You are Doing the Right Thing

Your loved one is in good hands. But you have needs, too.

If you’re still struggling to cope with these feelings, make sure you get the help you need. Ask your loved one’s assisted living facility if you need counseling or resources on coping.

Next, read how independent senior living near Clemson, South Carolina gives you a better quality of life.