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How to Help with Caregiver Guilt

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North Star Senior Advisors is a fan of dementia advocate, Rachael Wonderlin author of Dementia by Day.  In one of her online courses, she discusses, “How to Help with Caregiver Guilt”. We’ve learned that caregiver guilt is the number one reason prospects change their minds to move their loved one into a senior living facility. They feel like their loved one is not ready to move or from time to time their loved one has told them to never move them into an assisted living facility. We also hear that families try to keep their loved one in their own home with the goal to care for them forever.

Ultimately keeping an elderly person home would be ideal for any senior and their loved ones. If the family can afford in-home care 24/7 then why not allow their senior loved ones age in place at home? This is not always the norm though. Preparing a family member to decide if an assisted living is the right place can be one of the hardest things to decide. As your advocate, North Star Senior Advisors understands where our clients are coming from and recognizes that having guilt is a normal emotion. Choosing an assisted living facility or having the thought that you are “putting” your loved one away forever is very emotional.

When is it the best time to make this transition happen? You definitely want to consider moving your loved one into an assisted living facility if you’re experiencing caregiver burn out. You also don’t want to wait until your elderly loved one is no longer eligible to reside in a senior living facility. Yes, that is correct. A person must meet criteria in order to qualify to live in an assisted living facility. Terrible falls or wounds from staying in bed or sitting in a chair all day can contribute to not qualifying for an assisted living facility. If your elderly loved one has Dementia, they may wander or elope from home and police may be called. You definitely want to consider the “what if’s” prior to them happening. These are just a few scenarios that can occur.

Being able to help families in a time of great stress by lending them a listening ear is what we do! Our Senior Living Advisors work hard to reassure family members that moving your loved one into an assisted living is the right decision for several reasons such as, your loved one is in a safe place to live, is getting socialization from staff and other residents, has assistance with care so you are no longer suffering from caregiver burn out, and of course the nutritious meals the facilities serve. Unfortunately, we face a lot of social stigmas when it comes to “placing” our loved ones in a senior living facility. Multiple family members or friends can form different opinions on the power of attorney’s (POA’s) decision. This is why are patient with you, guide you through the process of selecting an assisted living or memory care facility as well as all the way through the transition. It’s desirable for us to smoothly guide you as well as educate in order to not add additional stress you are already experiencing.

Furthermore, Rachael Wonderlin states: “The best caregivers out there are caregivers that aren’t stressed to the bone. They’ve had time to breathe, time to relax, and time to themselves. Those caregivers are ones that have hired help in the home or have moved their loved ones to a caring community. I’ve never seen a more-stressed individual than someone who is caring for a loved one, at their house, as the sole caregiver, all the time. It’s never going to be a healthy situation. Even if they are doing an amazing job for their loved one living with dementia, they are definitely not taking the best care of themselves.”

If you’re not ready to relocate your loved one in a senior living community, consider other resources such as adult day care, a senior center, private duty in-home care or respite stays at an assisted living facility. Caregivers should not get to a point of no return or have that terrible burn out feeling. You don’t want to resent your elderly loved one or cause added health issues for yourself. Consider joining a support group or contact us to discuss options!

Guilt can be very overwhelming for a family member, but never feel guilty if you’re considering an assisted living for your loved one’s best interest. It’s essential for caregivers to not feel alone and know that may be a great decision for not only their loved ones but for themselves. Listening and guiding is what we do!





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