13 December, 2022 | 10 min read

The 7 Steps to Dealing With Assisted Living Guilt

Knowing you are making the right decision doesn’t always alleviate guilt. 

Children often second-guess or wrestle with the guilt associated with moving senior parents into assisted living communities. It may seem like an easy decision after watching your parents struggle with basic daily tasks, such as bathing, grooming or managing their medications. Perhaps they struggled with maintaining their home or became increasingly anxious about the risk of falling in an environment not built for aging.  

The logical and loving solution was to find an environment that would better support them and offer peace-of-mind for both you and your parents. 

So why did those feelings of guilt begin creeping in? 

We will explore the root cause of assisted living guilt together and help you navigate the change. At Eskaton, we are passionate about creating a safe environment for each resident and equipping loved ones with the tools necessary to ease the transition.  

Assisted Living Guilt: What Is it?  

Before diving into the root cause of this guilt, there is one important thing to remember: You did not fail. Needing assistance in properly caring for your parents does not signify failure. We have found that one of the major causes of guilt amongst adult children is that they believe they should have been able to adequately care for their parents, without relying on anyone else.  

Before arriving at the decision, many children exhaust every effort and over-extend themselves in an attempt to care for their aging parents, only to find that they do not have the time or resources needed to provide the level of care required.  

It’s not easy to accept that our parents may no longer be safe at home, and that the best option is to move them into an assisted living community. Sometimes guilt arrives when we witness our parents struggling to accept this move as well.  

Feeling guilt is natural, however it is crucial to remember that the decision was made as a loving response to a difficult situation and ignoring the situation could have put your parents at serious risk. Understanding where the guilt comes from is the first step and we will help you unravel it. 

Download our complimentary resource, Just the Facts: Your Guide to Assisted Living.

Steps to Dealing with the Guilt 

If you or your family is struggling with guilt surrounding the decision, follow the steps below to begin combating those feelings.  

1. Recognize that feelings aren’t always an accurate reflection of the truth.

It is often difficult to separate our feelings from the truth. We believe that simply because we are feeling something, it must be warranted. Assisted living guilt is influenced by many factors, and they are not necessarily accurate representations of reality.  

Guilt can arise as a natural byproduct of your love for your parents. You want them to feel supported and cared for but see that you may not be able to give them everything they need. This guilt does not stem from failure; quite the opposite. It signifies your love and devotion to your parents and making the difficult decision to move them into an assisted living community is an extension of your love.  

2.  Accept that you cannot do it all.

Though you may want to provide everything your parents need, all while working, caring for your own family and upholding your home, it just isn’t practical or possible. Learn to let go of these impossible standards and realize that seeking help is the first step in providing the best care possible for your parents. 

 3. The decision is an expression of love.

It’s easy to get lost in the guilt and lose perspective as to why the decision was made in the first place. You wanted your parents to have the highest quality of care possible and saw that you could no longer provide everything they needed, through no fault of your own.  

It’s easy to become trapped in a cycle of feeling that if you truly loved your parents, you would be able to provide them with the care they needed. The opposite is in fact true; because you love your parents so much, you were able to make the difficult decision to move them into a community that could adequately care for them. 

 4. Empathize with your parents.

Parents are not always enthusiastic about making the move to an assisted living community. Understanding where they are coming from and being compassionate about their hesitation is necessary in this change.  

Remind them of the positive aspects of the move; the connections they will make, the wonderful food and amenities, and the peace-of-mind they will experience knowing the environment is safe and secure. 

 5. Truly believe that you have found the best possible solution.

You are not alone, and you don’t have to navigate this by yourself. Countless adult children have been exactly where you are now and they will attest to the constant worries and sleepless nights they experienced before seeking help.  

Push back against assisted living guilt and remind yourself that getting help provides your parents with what they need to continue living fulfilled and engaged lives. 

 6. Allow time for the transition.

Though we may want everything to fall into place immediately, it doesn’t always happen overnight. Give yourself and your parents grace while everyone adjusts to the new reality. 

Rest assured that your parents will become accustomed to their new environment and will grow to appreciate the ease and comfort that comes with community living. 

 7. Ask for outside help if needed.

If you notice your parents still continuing to struggle even after an appropriate adjustment period has passed, remember that you can reach out for assistance. Eskaton is here to help you whenever you need it. 

Ask the community for suggestions or referrals they could recommend. You are not alone, many people have walked this same path and have discovered ways to make this adjustment period as easy as possible. 

Life at Eskaton Communities 

We believe in the magic and purpose within each of our residents and see each day as an opportunity to enhance their lives. In fact, Eskaton is defined as “the dawning of a new day.” We’ve been proudly serving the Sacramento region and Northern California for over 50 years and look forward to many more. 

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 and passionate living.  

We invite you to visit one of our award-winning communities to witness the magic yourself and learn about some of the amenities we offer, including: 

  • 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 some helpful 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