How to Cope with Guilt Over an Elder Care Decision

Posted by Mike McQuinn on August 24, 2015 | no comments

Making decisions for your parents, grandparents or other elderly relatives may be something that you need to do one day. Choosing the right path for one’s self is difficult enough, and those feelings can be heightened when you have to make decisions for others. In fact, you may feel some guilt. Certain common situations can lead to guilt, but you can overcome

Bringing in an Aide

While hiring an aide to help your relative around might not seem like that big of a deal to you, remember you are, in some way, taking away a bit of your loved one’s independence. Pride can play a role here as well. Still though, keep in mind that you are creating a safer environment for your loved one, and he or she will likely soon adjust.

Hiring Live-in Assistance

Another possibility is that you are hiring a nurse or an aide to live with your loved one. For people who relish their privacy, this move can prove difficult. Once again, you must recall that safety concerns come into play if you’re loved one is living alone. Also, you can take comfort in the fact that your relative still gets to live in his or her home.

Choosing a Nursing Home or Other Medical Facility

Sometimes, the situation is too severe for your loved one to continue living in his or her home, and this experience is one that many people feel guilty over. Bring items from the home to make the new space to look warm and inviting. Also, let your relative decide if he or she wants to talk about the old home or if it is too painful to do so. When the financial resources are available, you may want to consider keeping the home so that your loved one still knows that it is cherished.

Separating an Elderly Couple

Perhaps your grandfather is in good health, but your grandmother is in ailing health. Your grandfather does not have the physical strength to take care of your grandmother; as thus, she must move into a nursing home. Make sure that you involve the remaining partner in the conversations. Do not just make the decision for the couple as it can be heart-wrenching for them both. Be sure to offer to drive your grandfather to the facility on a regular basis to see his wife.

Moving to Another State

Let’s say that an ailing relative has lived with you for some time. However, he is now in poor enough health that walking up and down the stairs is impossible, and your home does not have a bathroom on the first floor. Yet on the other side of your country lives your sibling who does have the proper accommodations. Keep in mind that it is a positive that your relative still gets to live with a loved one, and try to make trips when possible.

Making End-of-life Decisions

Some of the hardest choices come when you need to make end-of-life decisions. Speaking with a bereavement counselor is one way to deal with your guilt and your emotions. Also, you should keep in mind that the person would be suffering if you did not make that choice. Think about what you would have wanted done in that situation and how your loved one would likely have reacted.

Elder care is a difficult field, but it’s an important one to understand because most human beings live to that age and most people need to make at least some choices for others. Developing strategies for handling the guilt helps to cast the outcomes and decisions in a different light.

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