How Do I Stop Feeling Guilty About Placing Mom in Assisted Living
Updated: Feb 28
"I feel so guilty about placing mom in Assisted living with memory care. She never wanted this to happen. In fact, years ago she made me promise not to ever do this to her! "
"Yet here we are!"
"But I simply could no longer do this alone. I tried having home care come in. However, with time we started needing more and more help. The cost was a lot. And I worried mom’s money may not last. Even with just 6 days a week and 6 hours a day I was spending around $3000. And that meant I had no help at night if I needed it. Furthermore, I was never able to fully relax in my own home. If I stayed when the caregiver came to the house, I ended up helping as well. If I tried to take a nap, I would hear mom wandering around the house looking for me. So, I had to leave my own home to get a break.
And so, I placed Mom in Assisted living for people with Alzheimer’s disease. She looked so scared when I left. And I have hardly stopped crying in the weeks that have followed. I know there are people who judge me. But they have not walked in my shoes. A cousin made a snide comment on Facebook indicating that she would never do this to her Mom. Where was she when I needed help? ~ Sharee
Sharee’s story is all too common.
Placing mom (or another loved one) in assisted living is one of the hardest decisions you will ever make. Most adult children do not take this decision lightly. But when caring for them at home becomes overwhelming, cost prohibitive or no longer safe it is time to move. And yet feeling guilty about placing Mom in assisted living is eating at your heart.
So where does this guilt come from?
Often people feel as if they have failed the person they love. Sharee promised to care for mom. Dan told dad he would never abandon him. And Carol promised to love and honor her husband in sickness and in health.
But You Haven’t Failed!
In fact, you stepped up to the plate in a huge way. By acknowledging that you are no longer able to be the best caregiver for them you are making a wise decision. And wise decisions are not always easy decisions to make.
And if you are still visiting regularly and communicating with the staff you are still doing your job. You are being the advocate for your loved one. Caring for someone does not mean you have to do all of the physical caring yourself.
You Feel You Are Not As Good Of A Caregiver As Others
Your friend Jessica cared for her Mom in her home for years. And your sister who lives far away thinks you are just being lazy and do not want to care for mom. The opinions of others often cause caregivers to feel guilty about placing mom in assisted living.
But it is important to remember that everyone’s care needs and situation is different. Some people need a higher level of care than others.
Jeff joined a caregiver support group on line. And he was constantly judging others who choose to place a loved one. Jeff cared for his mom and felt everyone else should also. So, I engaged with Jeff and asked a few questions.
It turned out that Jeff’s mom had macular degeneration. As such she needed help driving to doctor’s appointments. And some help around the kitchen. She also needed companionship. There was no dementia. She was otherwise fit as a fiddle, Jeff told me.
Comparing Apples To Apples
I asked if he had to help his mother bathe, get dressed and do her hair and makeup daily would he be able to help? Furthermore, I also asked if he could change her diaper? Jeff’s eyes began to open when he realized that his experience of caregiving was much different than that of others in the group. I also encouraged him to volunteer for an organization called The Gathering. This would give him first hand knowledge of caring for someone with dementia.
People Will Judge You
There will always be people who judge and criticize your choices. But people who do not help and do not understand do not deserve your attention. Surround yourself with supportive and understanding people. If you need to block someone online who make you feel guilty for placing mom in an assisted living then block them. As long as you know you have done the best you could that is all you need.
Getting out of the guilt loophole will take time. It is important that you have someone to talk to about your feelings. And that needs to be someone who will not judge you. Furthermore, it is important to reconnect with friends. Do the things you used to enjoy doing. My guess is the Mom who raised you would want you to be happy. Take steps each day to find your happy place.
Call_281-282-0770 to schedule a tour of Light Heart Memory Care. And remember to have a light heart. Everything is going to be okay.
In honor of our founder Pat Mack we are carrying on the tradition of caring for our residents in "The Light Heart Way"
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