Dealing with Nursing Home Guilt

Alicia Simpkins
Director of Admissions
Abbyshire Place Skilled Nursing & Rehab

Dealing with Nursing Home GuiltHow do you place a loved one in a nursing home when you are overcome with guilt, shame and anxiety? It is a question many families and caregivers face daily. The feeling of guilt or that you have let your parent down is extremely common in this situation. Even if there is no feeling of guilt, you may feel regret if you’ve made a promise that now must be broken due to your loved one needing more care than you can provide at home. For some, guilt comes with the thought of relief that they will no longer be responsible for the daily care of their loved one.  The whole process can feel like an emotional rollercoaster with confusing loops, uncomfortable turns, terrifying drops, and unexpected highs. Often times, even when your loved ones are cooperative with placement you still experience the wave of emotions. Although these feelings are common, if not dealt with correctly they can be harmful for the caregiver. Dealing with caregiver guilt can cause issues such as depression, feelings of isolation and increased stress. It is important that you make caring for yourself a priority.

Tips for Dealing with Guilt

Here are some tips for dealing with the guilt of nursing home placement:

  • Give yourself permission to grieve.
  • Acknowledge and accept emotions for what they are
  • Shift your focus away from feelings of obligation
  • Remind yourself frequently That your loved one is safer, less isolated and better cared for
  • Give yourself permission to have a life that isn’t totally focused on your parent
  • Acknowledge the fact that nursing home care is a necessary reality for millions of people, including your loved one
  • Remember that you are doing the best you can under difficult circumstances that are largely out of your control.
  • Make each visit with your loved one as fun or meaningful as you can.
  • Set up new ways to connect with your loved one when you cannot physically be there (such as scheduled phone calls, video chats or care packages)

And remember, the staff here at Abbyshire is always available to answer any questions you may have or to help guide you through difficulties during placement as well as after admission.