Living Guilt Free When Your Spouse Moves Into Long Term Care
By: Camila Cal, SeniorLivingGuide.com
Being a caregiver is one of the most difficult and most important jobs. This is especially true when the caregiver is a family member such as a spouse, child, or other relative. In this situation, it feels deeper than a job or role because the senior is a beloved family member that is dependent on their family member to guide them through their aging process. However, the reality is that there may come a time when the best decision is to move a senior to a skilled nursing or assisted living facility. While it is true that these moves can be challenging for the senior, it is a time that is challenging for their family member who may now be living alone.
Adrianne Cordero, a care manager with Viera Health & Rehabilitation, joined SeniorLivingGuide.com Podcast, Living Your Best Life While Your Loved One is Living In Long Term Care, to share her experiences with caregivers and how to encourage them to live their best life while their loved one is in long term care.
Making the choice to move a senior to a long-term facility can drastically improve their life, as they have constant professional care and resources tailored to their specific needs. Often though, it’s the loved ones that struggle most with feelings of guilt or shame for “leaving” their family member in a long-term facility. It can be a struggle to readjust to their new life. Cordero shared some tips to combat those uncomfortable feelings in order to live a healthier, happier life:
- A lot of guilt comes from the fact that the senior may no longer have the same physical or mental abilities that you do. But that’s the key– you still do! Enjoy your independence, health, and mobility while you can instead of spending time in a negative mental space.
- You may spend most of your time caring for your loved one, and that’s great – but who is taking care of you? If you don’t spend quality time caring for yourself (whether that’s physically, mentally, socially, spiritually, etc.) then your own physical and mental health could deteriorate, too.
- Support groups are a wonderful way to connect with others that may be in a similar situation. Just the act of listening to others or sharing your own story may take a weight off your shoulders, as well as help you learn how to process and understand your current position in life. These groups don’t have to be professional (although there are specific caregiver support groups) – a support group can be as simple as joining a book or gardening club, anywhere that you can feel safe and comfortable having meaningful conversations.
- Similar to support groups, friendship can be a really important tool for healing. It’s easy to feel social shame around prior friends that may be in a completely different place in life. If you feel you no longer connect with the friends in your life, reach out to someone in your support group by inviting them for coffee or another fun activity! Spending time with people that understand your feelings is beneficial.
- Stay active. You’ve probably heard it before, but it remains true: exercise is a huge way to maintain a positive mindset and outlook. Physical activity releases endorphins which help with depression and other feelings of sadness. It’s as simple as going for a short walk every day. Intentionally setting time to stretch and move your body will improve your lifestyle, overall health, and attitude.
- The last and perhaps most important point to remember is that your loved ones in long term care can sense your mood. If you feel sadness, it is likely that they will feel concern, worry, and even emulate your sad feelings. However, if you aim for getting the help you need by joining support groups, leaning into friendships, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, etc., then you will become the joy in their day! By caring for yourself, you transmit that positivity and happiness to them.
If you’re ready to live your best life, reach out to the seniors’ community, local hospitals, or organizations such as the Alzheimer’s Association and Aging Care to find support groups and other caregiver/family member resources.
For more senior and caregiver resource podcasts, visit SeniorLivingGuide.com Podcast or they can be found most anywhere you enjoy music or podcasts such as Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Podchaser, and more!Tags: Assisted Living, Skilled Nursing