In our younger years, it’s difficult to imagine a future where we are unable to live independently. Even harder to imagine, for many older adults, is spending the later years of life receiving support at a senior living community. Because of this, many adults ask their loved ones to make a promise never to force them into making a move to senior living, especially nursing care. However, many adult children find themselves in a position where the best decision, for their parents and the family, is to break that promise.
How to Get a Parent Into a Senior Living Community
Deciding to move your loved one into a senior living community can happen for many different reasons. Many adult children take on the caregiver role while still juggling full-time responsibilities like working or caring for their children. But there are a number of reasons a family may ultimately decide that moving into a senior living community provides the best solution for their loved one, including:
• Their loved ones can no longer take care of themselves
• Their family member doesn’t live near family
• They require daily professional care
Old adults could benefit greatly from the services provided in senior living communities. Plus, caregivers can also benefit from the additional support, especially if they’re feeling constantly drained and have exhausted all alternatives.
Guilt and Grief After Moving Your Loved One
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, guilt and grief are among the most challenging feelings caregivers must face when transitioning their loved one from aging at home to a care facility. While these are challenging emotions, they’re also typical experiences. Guilt often comes when we believe that we should be able to care for our loved ones until the very end. However, acting as your loved one’s caregiver can be overwhelming, and there may come a time when professional help is needed. Guilt is also a normal reaction whenever we break a promise. Caregivers may feel pressure from other family members or friends to let their loved one age in place and could feel guilt when they disappoint everyone.
The Alzheimer’s Association explains that grief is an emotional, physical, and thought-based reaction to perceived loss and change. We grieve in order to understand and accept our new realities. It’s a normal and expected element of breaking a promise. Guilt is also a normal reaction to seeing our parents get older, especially if we feel as though we can’t support them ourselves.
Tips for Coping After Breaking a Promise
If your loved one develops dementia or a severe physical limitation, you may realize that caring for your family member at home is no longer realistic. Here are some tips to help you through the changes:
- Educate yourself about senior living options. Years ago, the options for senior care were much different. Older adults today often recall experiences with family members or friends who were in less desirable facilities. Thankfully, senior living options have advanced light years beyond the outdated options of decades ago and they continue to evolve. Explore these options and ask questions.
- Reframe your perspective. Rather than taking the position that moving your loved one to a community is doing something “to them,” try to see it as something you’re doing “for them.” A senior living community has an entire team of people to do all the jobs you do as a caregiver daily, and much more. Imagine your loved one exercising, socializing, and enjoying worship services and daily entertainment in addition to receiving the care they need on a daily basis.
- Would your loved one want this for you? A memory loss diagnosis or severe physical impairment can often be a game changer. Most people wouldn’t expect a friend or family member to care for them through all the complex cognitive and physical changes that take place with aging.
- Honestly evaluate your situation. If the promises you made in the past are causing you to delay getting the help you need or to feel extreme guilt, ask yourself the following questions: Can I provide my loved one with all they need to live a full life? Is my loved one safe at home at all times? Can I successfully manage my own responsibilities and my caregiving role? Am I taking care of my own physical and emotional needs?
Providing Support at Inspīr
At Inspīr we understand how difficult it can be to move a loved one into a senior living community, especially if you’ve made a promise not to do so. Our knowledgeable staff offers support and advice for making the transition easier for the entire family and works with you to streamline the process for the best results.