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Navigating the Guilt of Moving a Loved One to Assisted Living

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January 31, 2023
Navigating the guilt of moving a loved one to assisted living.

Ensuring the health, safety, and overall well-being of an older loved one – especially a parent – can have its emotional challenges, especially if that means moving them to an assisted living community. It’s perfectly normal to feel sad, angry, and guilty.

The love we have for our parents is powerful. They nurtured and took care of us as children, so it’s easy to feel an incredible amount of guilt at the mere thought of not caring for them. If you’re having difficulty navigating the guilt of moving a loved one to assisted living, here are some tips that can help.

Feeling guilty is normal

Even if you know that moving your loved one to an assisted living community is necessary for their health and safety, guilty feelings are normal. You may feel like you’ve let your loved one down, you could have done more as a caregiver, or you’ve given up and moved them into a “nursing home.” The fact that you’re feeling guilty is perhaps a good indication of your genuine love and support for your loved one.

Ask for help

Navigating the senior living decision can be overwhelming. In addition to finding the right community, you must support your loved one and process your guilt. If you feel overwhelmed, sad, depressed, or guilty, don’t hesitate to reach out to close friends, family, and your pastor to talk through your feelings. In addition, senior living professionals are wonderful sources of support for you and your loved one.

Remember why you made this decision

Once you’ve decided to move a loved one to an assisted living community, second-guessing yourself is normal. You’re not alone. According to Consumer Affairs, 7 out of 10 people require assisted living care in their lifetime.

If doubt starts to settle in, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is my loved one showing signs of isolation, loneliness, or depression?
  • Has my loved one experienced frequent falls or injuries?
  • Is safety a concern?
  • Are you noticing a decline in your loved one’s health or hygiene?

Moving a loved one to an assisted living community does not mean you’re giving up on them or refusing to take care of them. This couldn’t be further from the truth. You’re ensuring their health, safety, and overall well-being.  Many residents thrive and love living in assisted living communities.

Research and visit assisted living communities

Assisted living communities are designed for active older adults who want to remain independent but need assistance with the following:

  • Activities of daily living (ADLs), such as bathing, dressing, grooming, and toileting
  • Household tasks
  • Physical or occupational therapy due to an injury or illness
  • Meal preparation
  • Medication management

If you haven’t visited an assisted living community, you (and your loved one) might be surprised by the services and amenities offered in most communities. High-quality assisted living communities such as Notre Dame Health Care provide residents with a maintenance-free, supportive lifestyle that includes:

  • Scheduled transportation for shopping, medical appointments, and community trips
  • Card and game room
  • Walking paths
  • Beautiful grounds and outdoor spaces
  • Library
  • Planned social, recreational, and cultural activities
  • Cocktail hours
  • Fitness classes
  • Hospitality and transition services for new residents

Wrap-up and next steps

Feeling guilty about moving a loved one to assisted living is normal. However, accepting your feelings and confiding in trusted family members and friends can help. The right assisted living community can be the start of a new adventure and a new stress-free active life for your loved one. Assisted living residents frequently visit friends and family for holidays and celebrations.  You may even find you enjoy visiting your loved one and meeting their new friends.

For more information or to set up a tour of their beautiful community, contact Notre Dame Health Care.

About Notre Dame Health Care

Notre Dame Health Care (NDHC) offers a range of post-acute programs and services to the community, including an Assisted Living Residence; Adult & Pediatric Hospice and Palliative Care; Post-Acute Recuperation; Short-Term Rehabilitation; Skilled Nursing and traditional Long Term Care; Specialized Memory Care; and an educational resource center which serves our employees and community. We embrace the individuality, spirituality, and wholeness of each member of our community, including our residents, patients, families, volunteers, and staff.

Notre Dame Health Care is proudly non-profit and honored to carry on the mission of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur to care for the sick and vulnerable and to educate for life through our NDHC Educational Bridge Center.

Notre Dame Health Care
555-559 Plantation Street
Worcester, MA 01605
(508) 852-5800