Ways Families can Deal with the Guilt of Moving a Parent to Assisted Living

Supporting aging parents can be difficult for busy, growing families. What may start with helping out around the house once or twice a week can soon turn into daily care requirements.

As your parents or loved ones gradually require more help, you may struggle for time. But it is not only time that is a concern. Care is not always straightforward. As people age, most develop illnesses or chronic conditions that require a higher level of care.

While elderly family members, friends, or other loved ones may prefer someone familiar looking after them, it is not always realistic. Moving family members into an assisted living facility or even a nursing home is a big decision.

The move can feel final and trigger feelings of failure or guilt in family members. Here are several ways families can deal with the responsibility of moving a parent to assisted living. 

Understanding your Reaction

Grief and guilt are the most common emotions family members and caregivers experience when parents need to move into an assisted living facility. It is essential to understand that these feelings are typical and unsurprising. 

Grief is generally associated with the death of friends, loved ones, or even a cherished pet. But examine the subject further, and it becomes evident that we grieve any loss and significant changes. Parents leaving their own homes for an assisted living facility is a huge transition. They lose some of their independence. As a child or a caregiver, you lose a particular way of living. 

For example, sharing Sunday dinners in your childhood home is no longer an option. Returning home for Christmas will also be different from now on. These are only two situations that may be “lost” to you forever. At the very least, they will be changed dramatically by a parent’s move into an assisted living facility. 

Guilt is perhaps even more common. You may feel that you failed your parents or loved ones by being unable to care for them entirely. But all caregivers have limits. Within an assisted living facility or a care home, no one would expect staff members to work 24-hour shifts, seven days per week. So, why do we expect family members to be able to do that? Some of those unrealistic expectations are rooted in very traditional ideas of family dynamics. In the 21st century, it is simply impossible for most people to conform to those ideas. 

Preparing for the Move

Alleviating the guilt of moving a parent to assisted living starts long before moving. It is best to discuss your parents’ plans for retirement and old age long before care becomes necessary. Having an open conversation about their ideas and yours means you can set the scene and prepare for the move without urgency. Even if such an early start is no longer an option, preparation remains essential. 

Consider the emotional and physical implications of a move. If your parents or loved ones are suffering from significant illnesses, it is vital to discuss at which point more proper care is required. Defining that point in time makes it easier for everyone to get ready. This type of preparation also allows current caregivers to make practical arrangements in good time. Moving a parent who can still drive a car is more superficial than arranging transport for a family member who uses a wheelchair. 

Selecting a Suitable Assisted Living Facility

Choosing a suitable assisted living facility is critical. The right environment offering the most appropriate level of care can make the difference between your parents enjoying their new lifestyle for years or deteriorating quickly. 

Physical facilities are part of this choice. But it is equally important to look at the services a facility can offer apart from buildings and rooms. Proper health relies on physical, mental, and behavioral well-being. Establishing this balance is essential for a facility’s overall quality of care. 

Why Behavioral Health can Make your Loved Ones’ Lives Better

Behavioral health care helps your loved ones establish or maintain habits that make it easier to balance their physical and mental health. Deteriorating mental health is not necessarily tied to aging. But the challenges that come with getting older and perhaps becoming infirm can cause a person’s mental health to deteriorate. Simple habits like regular eating patterns or keeping up a modest amount of exercise are incredibly powerful. 

Socializing is another essential factor for an older person’s well-being. The setting of assisted living communities lends itself to establishing new contacts, but most new residents need a little encouragement to make new friends. 

A comprehensive behavioral health program also includes behavioral health counseling. It begins with a thorough assessment of a senior’s situation and mental health when they move in. Put bluntly, behavioral health for assisted living facilities is a gamechanger for a facility’s quality of care and the residents’ quality of life. 

Caring For the Move

The move into an assisted living community will change almost every aspect of your parent’s or loved one’s life. As a family member, you may no longer need to care for them, but that does not mean that your role is less critical. Its focus changes and you have a chance to take a step back. Perhaps you find yourself becoming an advocate for your parents. Despite the most thorough research, there may be problems with your facility. In many cases, these problems are based on the fact that community-based life can differ considerably from independent living. 

Be open with the assisted living staff about any questions or issues you have. Some residents stay in assisted living facilities for years, so the team that looks after them becomes like family. Getting to know them is just as important as it is for them to get to know your loved one. Access to behavioral health care within assisted living facilities can smooth the transition considerably. Helping residents and families understand and manage their emotions while also navigating the practical aspects of the change can be invaluable.

How your Assisted Living Facility can Offer Behavioral Health Care

Offering behavioral health care will benefit your residents, facility, and team. Plus, ALF managers can add this option to the range of services at no additional cost. 

Experienced providers like TrueCare™ bring behavioral health care to your facility when you need it. Our team becomes an extension of your team, and we can train your staff in primary behavioral health care. Because Medicare approves our services, neither the facility nor the residents have to pay extra. 

Improved quality of care and residents’ quality of life have never been easily accessible.

About TrueCare™

TrueCare™ is a nationwide Health & Wellness platform for families and businesses providing end-to-end solutions for COVID-19 testing, screening, vaccination, home care, and corporate well-being services.