Overcoming the “Wrong Guilt” of Placing Mom or Dad Into a Nursing Home

Our parents play a significant role in our lives. One way of showing our love and gratitude to our parents is to take care of them in our homes when they get older and are unable to take care of their own needs.  Many cultures find the opportunity to care for elderly parents as a blessing. They are sources of rich experiences and wisdom that enlighten our homes. Their presence serves as a reminder to families of the care and love they share with each other.

However, there are children who may not be able to personally care for their parents at home for various reasons. When children decided to place their parents in a nursing home, they might have needed trained professionals to handle the more complex care required by their parents’ condition. They might have also seen the advantages of availing the different services provided by nursing homes, which are not readily available in their own homes.

Despite all these benefits, many children find it difficult to entrust the care of their parents to other people in nursing homes. This is not an easy decision to make. At times, children experience guilt feelings that someone else takes over their duties of taking care of their parents.

Sadly, guilt feelings of some family members are directed to nurses and to other staff.  There are stories of nursing home staff being pressured, intimidated, reprimanded and criticized during family visits, instead of cooperating with them to provide quality care for their parents.

It is important to talk and make necessary preparations about the decision to place our parents into a nursing home. It is critical that family members are on the same page and understanding over this decision.  We may consider making a thorough research to find a reputable facility that is easily accessible to a family member who can regularly visit our parents.  We should not allow them to be unvisited for weeks or months at a time. If their health permits, we can take them out for Sunday services and brunch or on important occasions and holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas or anniversaries.

Placing our parents in a Nursing home does not mean our care for them stops.  We should not totally turn over their care to others. We are all part of the care team.

While it may desirable to have our elder parents remain at home, this should not be used as a standard comparison to judge that those who bring their parents to a Nursing Home have less love for them.

Saying this, a commitment to also take care of ourselves and our own family will make us more effective caregivers to our parents. An understanding parent may not want their adult children to totally give up their lives and their other responsibilities to care for them at home. This is indeed a winning position for both sides.


*This article is not a substitute for professional advice.



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