Placing a Loved One in a Nursing Home: Dealing with Guilt

Placing a Loved One in a Nursing Home: Dealing with Guilt

At one point in time, you may have promised never to place your loved one in a nursing home. Perhaps recently, you are realizing you have to break that promise if you didn’t already. Breaking this promise can result in extreme guilt, but you do not have to agonize over this decision. Hopefully we can help you look at the situation from a new, more reassuring, perspective.

People often change their perspective on a situation when confronted with new challenges. When you made promise not to place your loved one in a home, you could have been at a point in your life when the idea seemed improbable, or you may have been more financially secure to care for your loved one. Whatever the reason, you had the best in mind for them. And now that you are at a different point in your life, you may realize that the best thing to do for your loved one is to place them in a home. This is a very normal transition to experience, even though it is a hard one.

Life changes. It is normal for your mind to change along with it. Sometimes breaking promised can make the overall situation better even if you carry guilt with you.

For those who are having a difficult time reconciling your feelings with the situation at hand, we have some advice to share:

  • Do not identify with guilt: It is normal to experience guilt, but, remember, you are not that guilt. Guilt is a feeling, so let the feeling pass through you.
  • Trust your judgment: If you deeply care about your loved one’s wellbeing, you would not have made the difficult decision to place them in a home. You made this decision because it was the best option out of many other less-than-ideal alternatives.
  • Avoid negativity: Do not be dispirited if you encounter those who disagree with your decision. They do not have the perspective that you do on the matter. If you can, avoid these people for a little while, unless they are willing to respect your decision.
  • Care for yourself: Try to set aside time every day to focus on yourself. Whether this is time to exercise, to practice deep breathing, to read, or to socialize, make sure you try to pursue these activities wholeheartedly without interruption. Self-care is crucial for your mental and emotional health, especially during stressful times like these.
  • Focus on the present: Do not let thoughts from the past haunt you or thoughts from the future worry you. Focus on only what you can control and what is currently in front of you. Be present.
  • Have confidence: Remind yourself that you have very good reasons for making the decisions you did.
  • Do not tell yourself you are a bad person: Navigating difficult situations means making difficult choices. If you had to break a promise that you made at a very different time in your life, then try to think about what would have happened if you did not decide to place your loved one in a nursing home. The alternative may not have been the best for your loved one whose wellbeing you’re ultimately trying to ensure.
  • Lastly, forgive yourself.

If you have more questions or are interested in ElderCare at Home’s services, please call 888-285-0093 or visit our website to learn more!

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