Deciding to put your loved one in assisted living isn’t easy. You might feel guilty for going against your promise of not putting them in assisted living when they get older, but there may come the point where you are unable to give them the care they need. Overcoming the promise that you wouldn’t put your loved one in assisted living can be challenging, but it is possible. In the end, you can show your loved one that assisted living is for their benefit.
You’ve Realized You Have No Other Choice
The hardest part of being a caretaker is realizing that you’re in over your head. At the beginning of caring for your loved one, you most likely came to terms with some of the difficulties of being a caretaker and accepted that responsibility. However, sometimes when people take on the task of caring for someone older, they underestimate what it takes to provide them with the care they need. At some point, while taking care of an elderly loved one, you may realize that you aren’t equipped to give them the life they need.
Why Breaking the Promise Is Hard
When making the decision to put your loved one in assisted living, you may experience a lot of difficult emotions. You might feel guilty for going back on a promise you made long before your loved one started to decline. On the other end, your loved one might feel betrayed. They also might feel like a burden, which can cause them to feel defensive and insecure.
Your loved one may also fear what going into assisted living means. Many people fear that their family will leave them at an assisted living facility and never come back. They may hear about the loneliness and isolation of nursing homes and hospice care in the media. They worry you’re just trying to get rid of them. While none of this is true, that fear still exists, and your guilt still remains.
Why It Isn’t Your Fault
The truth of the matter is that a person’s physical or psychological illnesses aren’t something that can be managed at home by a person who isn’t professionally trained. When you made the promise to take care of them, this might have been during the early signs of regression. Helping your senior loved one didn’t seem as big a commitment when they were mostly independent. Now they may be at a point where taking care of them is a full-time job.
Most caretakers also experience caregiver burnout. Since taking care of their loved ones has become a full-time job, they have to put their entire life on hold. They might feel selfish for thinking this, but it’s a reasonable concern. Sometimes caretakers who don’t address this can harbor resentment for their loved ones or regret the time that was lost.
Sending your loved one to assisted living for any reason is understandable. It doesn’t mean that you weren’t trying hard enough or that you have failed your loved one. You are being realistic about the situation. It’s common to underestimate the level of care that is required, and it’s normal to feel burned out from putting your life to a halt. Coming to terms with these things can help alleviate any guilt you might be feeling, allowing you to confront the hard truth.
It May Be Challenging
Breaking the news to your loved one can be difficult. They might not be on board at first, but they may come around over time, especially if you are honest about why you think this is the best move going forward. Be honest with your loved one about how you are feeling and that this is hard for you too. Your loved one might not trust your future promises and feelings, but over time they will come around. There’s also a chance they might understand or have seen this coming. Break the news gently and approach the conversation with compassion.
What to Do Going Forward
After you’ve broken the news to your loved one about the decision to put them in assisted living, there are steps that you can take to make the transition easier. Taking the initiative to be prepared will also help alleviate the guilt of making this change. The more you and your loved one know about what to expect can dispel any lingering resentment, feelings of betrayal, and fear both of you might have.
Start by doing research on assisted living facilities that take your insurance or you can afford. Look for places that have a vibrant community or have positive reviews. Consider the distance of the place and how easy it will be to visit your loved one. Then, discuss important matters, such as your loved one’s wishes and the care they expect to receive. This way, your loved one will feel safe in the care of their future residence.