23 August, 2022 | 11 min read

Navigating the Guilt of Moving a Loved One to Assisted Living

Do any of these scenarios sound familiar? 

Your parents are struggling to remain safe living at home, leaving you to worry about what will happen if they fall and aren’t able to get the help they need. 

Perhaps a loved one is no longer able to eat healthy and is skipping meals or substituting snacks instead. You can tell weight has been lost or gained, but when you try to solve the problem, you’re told there isn’t one. 

Or maybe you’ve noticed the mail is beginning to pile up, unopened, with a few of the envelopes marked Payment Overdue. You are witnessing an inability to keep up with the laundry or personal grooming and quality of life seems to be slipping away. 

Moving into an assisted living community can be a major transition for your loved one, as well as the entire family. Feeling scared, anxious or apprehensive about such a major life change is entirely natural, but there are things you can do to help mitigate these emotions and take the worry out of the move. Eskaton has helpful guides online to help you ease the transition to senior living. 

The advantages of an assisted living community 

You know life can be easier for them and you did your research. You understand the benefits of an assisted living community and that this is the best solution for your loved ones. Even though they may be sad to leave their existing home, they will thrive in their new one. 

So then why do you feel so guilty? 

The reasons for guilt when considering assisted living 

As beneficial as assisted living can be, it is still not an easy choice for your loved ones or the family to make. 

Moving from an existing home to assisted living represents more than just a change of address for your parents. This may be where they raised their children, celebrated holidays or rejoiced with each of life’s accomplishments.  

Your loved ones may also be grieving what they see as a loss of their independence and a life they once knew. If you’re part of the decision, their sadness is part of your guilt. 

Your guilt can also have more than one source. You may be getting resistance from other family members who disagree that assisted living is the best solution. Or your guilt may be internal. Your parents may have agreed but you can still see the disappointment. Or you might not be ready to accept that those who were so strong and took care of you now need help. 

Just the Facts: Your Guide to Assisted living

Tips to navigate the guilt  

  1. Understand that feeling guilty is normal

    The sense of guilt you might feel is not indicative of reality or that you are making the wrong decision. It is also not a reflection on your past abilities to care for your loved one. You’re doing what is best but it is still a hard decision to make. 
  2. It’s OK to break a promise that shouldn’t have been made

    Many adult children made promises to their parents that they would never put them in an assisted living community. Recognize that when the promise was made, you weren’t facing the situation that you are today, as well as recognize the extensive advancements that have been made to assisted living communities.
  3. Let go of what you think you should be able to do

    It’s not uncommon to harshly judge ourselves and come up short. You may feel that you should be able to maintain a full-time job, raise your children and create a loving home while caregiving for your parents, but everyone has limits. 
  4. Your parents may not understand the care they need

    Your parents might disagree with the decision but do they truly understand the situation they are in? They may not see the level of decline or the risk they are taking with their health by living at home. 
  5. Remind yourself you’re caring about their quality of life

    Being a good child is not just making sure your parents have a safe place to live and enough to eat but to ensure they also have the opportunity to live their best lives. They will be surrounded by new and soon to be familiar faces that are supportive, close by and always there when needed. Their health will be better maintained with continual monitoring, and regular routines will be established to provide your loved ones with comfort and stability.
  6. You’re empowering them to gain back their independence

    Your loved ones may express fear of losing their self-sufficiency if they move into an assisted living community but they will actually have the opportunity to feel more empowered and independent in their daily lives. 
  7. Reach out to others

    This is a hard decision and it's important to remember that you don’t have to go through this alone. Find others who have been through a similar situation, a support system or a professional to help talk through your feelings. You are doing the best that you can – and that is nothing to feel guilty about.
  8. Give it time

    It will take time to adjust — for both your loved ones and yourself. Don’t expect miracles overnight but you will begin seeing small, positive signs as your parents adapt. Encourage them to take it day by day and that you will be there for them always as they were always there for you. It's their turn now to receive the care they deserve. 

Life at Eskaton Communities 

The word Eskaton means “dawn of a new day.” In our communities, we see each day as an opportunity to enhance the lives of our residents. We’ve been serving the Sacramento region and Northern California for over 50 years. 

The Eskaton Difference starts with our life-enriching programs and collaborative partnerships. With a national reputation for innovation, we focus on creating communities that provide our residents with everything they need for purposeful living. 

We invite you to visit one of our award-winning communities to discover some of the benefits we offer, such as: 

  • Private residences 
  • Delicious and nutritious meals 
  • Social opportunities to meet and make new friends 
  • Creative activities and therapies 
  • Fitness centers and exercise classes 
  • Housekeeping services 
  • Transportation services 
  • 24-hour staffing 
  • Pet-friendly 
  • Free Wi-Fi 
  • And much, much more! 

If you’re considering whether senior living could be the best choice for you or a loved one, we’re here to answer any questions that you may have. We also invite you to download our complimentary information, Just the Facts: Your Guide to Assisted Living. To schedule a personalized tour, call us at 1-866-ESKATON (or 1-866-375-2866) or visit eskaton.org. 
Just the Facts: Your Guide to Assisted living