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Placing Your Elderly Loved One in a Nursing Home: Let the Guilt Go

Date : Jan 27,2016
By : Matt Rhoney

When you were a child or even a young adult, you probably didn’t think about the day when your parent would be unable to live independently. Then suddenly time flies and you’re a woman in her late fifties as decades have flashed forward, leaving you with a difficult decision: placing your parent or loved one in a nursing home. Even if your elderly loved one made previous arrangements to live in a nursing home, following through with the decision can leave a lot of adult children and other family members feeling guilty or inadequate as caregivers.

While feelings of guilt can be overwhelming, they are also natural during this new and challenging transition. Here are some tips to cope and lessen the stress or guilt:

Remind Yourself That You Did Your Best

Whether you had a caregiving role in your loved one’s life or you’re simply struggling after placing your elderly parent in a home, it’s time to remind yourself that you did the best of your ability. Caregivers, for instance, are prone to stress and burnout, particularly if you’re the sole caregiver and not doing it as an occupation. Caregiving can be a full time job, is sometimes thankless,can be lonely, and can even put a strain on your own mental or physical health. Additionally,
caregiver guilt is a real thing that many caregivers don’t know what to do with or how to let it go. The best thing to do is get over feeling guilty about your guilt; you are doing your best and you have done your best.

Remain Present

When your loved one moves into a nursing home facility, he or she may have a difficult time adjusting to the new transition, which can increase your guilt. Although you may be tempted to give him or her some time alone, to get used his or her new environment, it’s important to be present and be there as a familiar face. If your loved one is feeling depressed or upset by the new move, it may make you second guess the decision that was made, but keep in mind that most nursing homes are the best next step for individuals who require specialized care.

Keep A Watchful Eye

Not only can your familiar presence ease your loved one’s anxiety and stress, but by visiting frequently, you can pay attention to the care that your elder is receiving. Sadly, some nursing homes provide subpar care, putting elderly residents at risk for numerous physical and mental health problems. The West Virginia nursing home abuse attorneys at Mani, Ellis, & Layne, strongly recommend that as a friend or loved one, you watch carefully for any signs of abuse or neglect and if you see anything suspicious it should be reported immediately.

In addition to monitoring the quality of care you can be helpful to nursing home staff and alert them to any changes you may notice. For example, if your loved one had slight memory issues when he or she moved into the nursing home they could worsen almost overnight. By knowing your loved one better than the staff, you can tell staff if something doesn’t seem right (as they may not recognize certain behaviors yet).

Enjoy the Time You Have

Although you gave up your role as the sole caregiver or made the decision to place your loved one in a nursing home, your role in his or her life is still important (perhaps more so than before). Abandon your feelings of guilt and take the time to cherish the moments you have with your elderly loved one.