This title suggests it is hard. And for the majority of people, it is. Some adapt to changes easily, while others dread them. The same is when you’re young, and it gets progressively worse with age, especially for the part regarding the change.
The ageing process in the elderly is natural, but then comes the time when you have to do something drastic because you watch your parents fail to cope with everyday demands. Even if you are involved in caring for them (some say, “parenting” them), the situation doesn’t get better, to the contrary.
This is the moment you have to intervene and suggest the right solution, which usually means two options: either moving in with you and having a live-in assistant or moving to the assisted-living facility or a nursing home.
The problems occur for a couple of reasons:
- When they won’t listen, even though you know that they’re not ok being alone.
– Another legitimate reason is that you just can’t do anything more when it comes to caregiving- you’re severely burned out. Yes, they are your parents, and yes, you feel tremendously guilty for not being able to take care of them anymore, but in some cases, it’s just unrealistic: they would be better off (safer, possibly healthier) in the hands of a professional.
Why Do We Feel Guilty?
We don’t like the feeling of having to swap the roles of caregivers. And then we feel we’re failing them, which is tremendously painful. But in truth, even though you take GOOD care of them (read: you’re doing your best), you are taking them where people can take BETTER care. It IS because you care for them.
Also, many of us were made to promise never to put them in any such elderly facility. But the present situation has nothing to do with the past promise, especially because it was made while the conditions were way different: they could walk and feed themselves, and remember to take their medicine, which isn’t the case anymore.
On top of that, they will probably prosper in a nursing home, due to being exposed to other seniors they may become friends with and the said medical professionals.
Lastly, especially for parents without cognitive impairment, it is very difficult to adjust to a new environment and forget about their old friends and their neighborhood. They need to start trusting other foreigners to inspect and move their bodies, which may be a lot, and you are painfully aware of it.
That’s why we feel guilty: they are too old to change their lives. But the reality hits hard- they have to.
This article offers a very insightful tip suggesting to start discussing the issue early in your lives (but not too early, because they might make you swear never to do it), not when the crisis is already knocking on your door.
How to Discuss the Possibility of Going to a Facility
They say you should formulate the question to express your concern, and not to pinpoint it as their problem. You should say how worried their state makes you feel. Usually, parents don’t want to be burdensome to their children and will react positively to your assertive communication.
It also applies to all kinds of human communication- talk about how anything impacts you, not what other people do, because they otherwise become defensive.
Put Your Guilty Conscience at Ease- 3 Things to Consider
- There must be something positive in their experience with the new facility, even though they are not willing to admit. If you see (or a nurse tells you) that insomnia is getting better even for a tiny bit, or they aren’t afraid to go out because they know they won’t fall, or they just love the communal activities, you know they are in good hands and that you’ve made the right decision. A small positive impact will accumulate over time.
- However, it’s understandable that you’d question your decisions or even feel indecisive in critical moments because the change IS big- both in terms of finances and their old lifestyle. Just having to make that decision is nerve-wracking. But you’ll have to understand that not all life decisions are easy, and not all of them make us feel 100% sure. Some level of skepticism and unpredictability is inherent to life. A hard pill to swallow.
- After all, you’ll see the results of your actions. Just don’t expect them immediately. Because this is a HUGE change, it might take a proportionate amount of time for things to settle. All life changes require a certain period of time for a much necessary adjustment. This is not an exception.
Useful Information Checklist
In case you’ve made your mind, and they agreed to move to be cared for by professionals, it’s a good thing to know what to ask. Do have a look at this downloadable checklist with the questions you need to ask the facility managers.
Honestly, transitioning is always challenging, for one reason or another.
Imagine a child that needs to transition to a nursery from a loving all-day-play- and-carefree-living, or pre-school, or move altogether- sometimes they would cry for days for leaving old friends behind, or because they cannot bond with the new classmates.
Now, imagine how difficult it must be for the elderly, with their whole life experience and memories and capabilities- all of a sudden, they have to trust complete strangers, and have to make new acquaintances, many of whom, unfortunately, can’t see them, hear them, or are completely unaware of their own existence. Definitely not easy.
But then again, imagine the same child starting learning new things, making friends with new kids, and being happy. Even though they miss their mom. Or they fall and are hurting badly- someone else will come to the rescue and they’ll feel safe again. They are doing things better. They start to feel better about themselves.
Maybe, just maybe, this may be the case with your parents.
One thing is for sure- they will have the greatest palliative care, making both of you safer and at peace. You will do the rest to make them feel seen, heard, and loved.
Author’s Bio: Anne Harris is an HR specialist working for londonlive-incare.com. She eagerly shares her knowledge with her audience on various blogs. When she isn’t writing or attending wellness conferences, she likes to pack her rucksack and ride her day away on her bike or spend time with her friends.