Often loved ones feel guilty that they are not able to have elderly family live with them or that they don’t want to have their elderly live with them. There is also concern that assisted living facilities aren’t going to treat loved ones with the same love and care that families want to be able to do. With families living farther and farther apart and our elderly needing more care from medical professionals, it’s getting harder and harder to move loved ones into the homes of other family members. Assisted living facilities are not a big scary monster hiding under the bed. They can be very practical options that provide love and care in ways that family members possibly don’t have the training or time to be able to do. But practicality doesn’t always ease the guilt family members might feel when they need to move loved ones to an assisted living facility. Today we are going to discuss 5 different ways to overcome guilt.
Guilt can be a great motivator for change but sometimes we can’t change what we feel guilty about. This is when the first tool for managing guilt can be utilized. The first tool is to sit with the guilt and name it to yourself. Writing out what you feel guilty about in a journal or saying it out loud to yourself, can help you to be more patient with yourself and be more open with your emotions. Taking the time to sit with the guilt you are experiencing is important as it can cause more problems if you bottle it up.
The second tool to help manage guilt is to practice gratitude. It can be hard to feel like you have failed your loved one if you aren’t able to provide the kind of care a loved one needs. Gratitude can help us to appreciate the time we have had with our loved ones and remind us of the care we have provided. It can help us feel more at peace with ourselves when we recognize and are grateful for what we have done. Practicing gratitude can help us to avoid ruminating and spiraling into frustration and pain.
While we may not be able to change the things that make us feel guilty, we can make amends with those who we feel we have wronged. Making amends and apologizing is the third tool we can use to help us work through guilt. While we hope that there is no broken trust when someone needs to be placed in a home, sometimes it is hard to be told that you are not able to care for yourself any longer. Apologizing can sometimes be hard as pride can get in the way, but it can be crucial to helping restore any relationship strains that can be causing feelings of guilt.
While you may not feel it necessary to talk to a professional psychologist about the feelings of guilt, the fourth tool, talking to those you trust such as friends and family, can help you to work through those feelings. This tool can be especially helpful to family members who have to come together to place a loved one in an assisted living facility. Family members may have conflicted feelings about moving a loved one into a home and talking it out together can help them receive closure.
The fifth tool, and the final tool that we’ll talk about today, is to learn from your guilt. This tool is likely going to become the most useful to you as you move forward with your life. It can feel debilitating to feel guilty about something that was likely necessary for the safety of a loved one. Learning from your guilty feelings can mean a lot of things but one of the things we hope you realize is that moving a loved one into a home is not the end. We hope that you learn that you can continue to be close with your loved one and call and write and visit.
Whether you feel guilty now or later, we hope that you know that you can move past the guilt and continue to have a healthy and strong relationship with your loved one. If you are not someone struggling with guilt we believe that talking about big changes in life such as moving a loved one, learning how to sit with your emotions, and learning from guilt is always going to be crucial.