You’ve made one of the hardest decisions of your life. Perhaps it was never in the plan, but here we are. Your loved one is in senior care and you feel guilty. First of all, know that that’s completely normal. According to Psychology Today, guilt is a part of caregiving, especially if you know that the decision is against their wishes or you’re still dealing with the fallout.
Recognize and accept how you feel about the adjustment. Even though we feel guilty, it does not mean that we are. Feelings just want to be felt. Second, read our list below.
It’s not helping anything
According to Psychology Today, “Acting out of guilt can only drain you further and ultimately make you a less effective helper.”
There’s no “right” or “wrong” decision
The choice to pursue senior care was motivated by a lack of support and other viable options. You were faced with a decision you didn’t want to make, but your loved one’s health or safety was in danger. You did what you had to do to prevent something worse from happening. We’re only human; we can’t do it all. We make the best decisions for all involved with the information we have at the time. It’s in our nature to nurture and care for loved ones, so “sending someone to a home” goes against our natural instincts, even though you are in fact, providing a safe environment for them.
Reassure yourself of what senior care provides
Nothing compares to you, but you wouldn’t have let your loved one go to a senior care facility if you didn’t trust that they would be in good hands. Plus, they have multiple caregivers who are available 24/7! Your loved one might even improve under constant quality care.
Remember you’re not alone
Have realistic expectations for this transition. Don’t feel guilty about feeling guilty, that just adds more stress and negativity. Guilt is a normal reaction to this situation. Seek support and reassurance from other people who have gone through the same thing.
It’s not your fault
As Psychology Today states, “guilt is an emotion that people experience because they’re convinced they’ve caused harm.” Although you may have caused a few of those gray hairs, you didn’t make your parents get old or sick. It’s part of the process. Logically you may realize this, but acknowledging that aging is outside of your power and admitting you can’t control everything might help relieve some of the guilt.
The past is past
Your loved one probably wouldn’t want you to feel bad about doing what needed to be done. Move on and embrace the present moment.
Now you can focus
Focus on what you do have control over. You can visit your loved one, bring them gifts, and make sure they’re being taken care of. And, you can focus on yourself. Taking care of others starts with taking care of you, after all.