Moving an elderly loved one into a nursing home is often a caregiver’s last resort. Nursing homes have a negative reputation, and seniors urge family members to avoid placing them in one. When their wishes are unfulfilled and seniors enter nursing homes, families are fraught with feelings of guilt.
What are the reasons for nursing home placement?
Nursing home placement may be necessary under certain circumstances. An aging senior may live alone and no longer has family or friends to provide daily care. Or, dysfunctional family dynamics can prevent adequate care, if the senior lives in the family home.
Severe cognitive or physical decline can prompt a need to reside in a nursing home. Care needs for such individuals are too great to be sufficiently managed by family members. Sleep deprivation is likely to occur when family members must supervise a senior who requires 24-hour medical care.
A skilled nursing facility may be a temporary option when the senior is recovering from a physical injury, such as a hip fracture. A short stay in the nursing home helps to rehabilitate the senior so that the individual may return to normal functioning and continue to provide self-care.
Why do guilty feelings arise?
When a nursing home seems like the only option, families will struggle emotionally. Most seniors fervently resist the idea of entering a nursing home, even pleading with loved ones to avoid the nursing home environment. As a result, it is common for family members to experience guilt.
The guilt associated with nursing home placement comes from feelings of failure and broken promises. Some family members promise outright to never admit a loved one into a nursing home. For others, the promise is an unspoken, yet understood, one.
The feelings of failure and subsequent guilt are due to family members believing that they have the sole responsibility to care for the senior until the very end of life, no matter how difficult or impossible the task. Family members may feel they are judged negatively for their decision, too.
Pangs of guilt also arise when family members worry that an aging loved one is unhappy living in the nursing home. Feeling relief after a nursing home placement can lead to guilt, considering that the family caregiver is no longer responsible for the senior’s daily care.
How do family members cope with guilt?
Guilt is a normal reaction in family caregivers, given that they love and care for the senior. Family members who feel guilt can ease their painful feelings by remembering that the emotion is a common one. Feelings of love accompanied by anger are also normal.
Emotional support from trusted individuals is important in helping family caregivers cope with the decision. Spiritual leaders may be sought out for support in dealing with the feelings of guilt, grief, and any other associated sentiments. Close friends, too, can lend emotional support.
While consulting friends, family, or spiritual leaders, some may be against moving the senior into a nursing home. Discuss the views of everyone involved and learn about other options. Or, consider a support group focused on caregiver experiences to find emotional relief.
Journaling is a cathartic experience. Write down all the feelings associated with caregiving, including the achievements made in the care journey. While journaling, investigate realistic expectations. Ask whether or not the guilty feelings are helpful, or if they benefit the aging loved one in any way.
Make an effort to understand that professional care will help the senior, and if she is ill, will provide increased safety and comfort. Be aware that nursing homes conduct a thorough needs assessment prior to admission; if the senior requires constant skilled care, it is an appropriate environment.
Once the senior has been admitted into the nursing home, try to show love and care. Perhaps deliver newspapers or flowers every day to the senior. Upon visiting, family members may even notice improvement in the senior’s wellbeing. Depending on the facility, care may be optimal.
Is home care a viable alternative to a nursing home?
The unwanted feelings of guilt associated with nursing home placement may be avoided by exploring skilled or nonskilled home care options. The elderly prefer to age in place, and home care fulfills these desires. Seniors receive quality care in the comfort of home, making a nursing home stay unnecessary.
Home care is flexible and may be adjusted or customized to meet all care needs. Families who opt for home care may choose from short-term respite care, 24-hour care, live-in care, or post-surgical care, among others. Hospice care at home offers relief to both the senior and family caregiver.
Some family caregivers feel burdened by providing around-the-clock care. Others refuse to give up the privilege of caring for an aging loved one. No matter what your situation, choose Assisting Hands Home Care for the most dependable and compassionate home care.
Assisting Hands Home Care is among the most preferred alternatives to nursing home stays. Care recipients are fully cared for in the comfort of home. Daily support with the activities of daily living is provided by our teams of skilled, licensed, and bonded caregivers.
The comprehensive, nonmedical care provided by our caregivers includes help with all aspects of personal hygiene, transportation to doctor’s offices, grocery shopping, meal preparation, companionship, and fall-risk assessments. We offer quality memory care to seniors living with any stage of dementia.
Discuss the senior’s care preferences early on. Your loved one will find both comfort and relief in receiving care from a trained caregiver from the Assisting Hands Home Care team. Our care plans are flexible and account for adjustments as care needs change.
Whether your loved one suffers from Alzheimer’s disease (or another form of dementia) or simply requires extra support at home, choose Assisting Hands Home Care for all your non-medical care needs. We ensure seniors in Hinsdale, Burr Ridge, Downers Grove, Lyons, La Grange, Western Springs Illinois, and the surrounding communities live with dignity.