Three reasons why your decision is not a “crime”
Do you already know or want to learn what it is like to care for an older parent or loved one? There is no single answer. Everyone, even in their elderly years continues to be individual and different. Your grandmother is 80 and she doesn’t need anyone else to shop or cook for her, while someone else’s mother is 60 and can’t get to the bathroom alone? That is a normal situation in which there is no room for panic. Unfortunately, not only momentary panic but also long-term stress follows for a large percentage of people who choose to take care of their elderly relatives with all their might. We do not want to scare you but only to share observations (local and global) that the burnout of the caregiver is not a myth. The burnout from the constant, round-the-clock care of someone is just as dangerous as anything else you’ve heard or experienced.
Let us tell you a story: during a lecture on stress management, a psychologist raises a glass of water. Everyone expects to be asked the clichéd question “half empty or half full.” Instead, the psychologist asks, “How much does this glass of water weigh?” The audience shares different assumptions about the severity. The psychologist’s answer is: “Weight doesn’t matter. It depends on how long I hold the glass. If I hold for a minute, it’s not a problem, is it? If I hold it for an hour, my arm will start to hurt. If I can hold it one day, my arm will feel paralyzed and numb. In any case, the weight of the cup does not change, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.” Everyone is surprised but the psychologist continues: “Stress and anxiety in life are like this cup. Think about them for a while and nothing happens. Think about them a little more and they start to hurt you. If you think about them all day, you will feel paralyzed, unable to do anything.
That is why it is so important to do everything possible to get rid of the things that stress you. Don’t “carry” your worries all day while you fall asleep or while it is time to rest. Leaving this cup down means minimizing the severity of the stress you experience while caring for your elderly parent. So, don’t underestimate caring for another human being who has the same needs as you, but with the difference that he can’t handle most of them, no matter how small. Thousands of people around the world take it upon themselves to take care of their mother or father when they are completely helpless, and they trigger unsuspected stress and anxiety, and from caregivers they can become patients in no less serious condition.
The topic we want to deal with today will be an attempt to assure you that you do not make the wrong and unfair decision when you place your loved ones in a nursing home. We strongly emphasize “accommodating” because we are often visited by families who say, “I’m afraid to leave my mother.” No, you don’t leave anyone with the meaning of “dumping” – you only place them in a new home that is social, cozy, comfortable, full of entertainment, amenities and round-the-clock services. We have described your understanding of a “hotel” but intended for older people who also do not want to see their sons and daughters exhausted while caring for them.
Let’s assume that you have already made the hardest decision of your life and settled a relative or a parent in a nursing home. Many like you feel guilty for “giving up” a parent, husband, or close friend and handing over their care to someone else. But when caring for someone at home becomes dangerous or almost impossible, it is absolutely necessary to move them to a place where they are safe and receive the necessary attention, time and care. Unfortunately, even if this is the best solution for their and your health, guilt and sadness can still be insurmountable. We understand this and don’t rule it out, but as you adjust to the changes, think about what this guilt is doing to you – it can help you make a decision and reduce emotional stress.
We will share three very common reasons that probably make you feel guilty that you have placed your mother or father in a nursing home. We will also explain to you why these beliefs are not true and why reality makes your decision inevitable and necessary.
- You have not fulfilled your obligation to take care of them as they took care of you? Are you familiar with the following thoughts:
“I promised my mother to always take care of her”; “Dad asked me never to leave him”; “At our wedding we promised that we would always be next to each other – in sickness and health”.
No, you have not failed in caring for your loved ones. Choosing to place them in a nursing home is first and foremost a smart decision, thanks to which they are in a safe, secure environment in which they receive the care they need from a qualified team. You can still spend as much time as you want with them, talk to the team regularly and even advise on how to take care of them – as you are used to or as your loved ones prefer. This will make you even calmer, when you are not close to them. Repeat it now – I take good care of my elderly parents and I do not abandon them.
- You are not good enough in caring for your mom and dad – can you do more?
“My friend takes care of his mother at home alone, so I have to do it too”; “My acquaintances think I’m lazy and that is why I don’t want to take care of my mother anymore”; “My sister says she is angry because I am sending our father into a nursing home.”
Is that familiar? For starters, every family story is different, you don’t know what the other family went through, so you can’t compare yours to them. Don’t do it. Your parents may have more serious health problems and need the next level care – more than is possible to provide at home. Accept that if your health is affected, you are tense, exhausted and no longer able to concentrate on the needs of another human being, so that this leads to his injury or fall – it’s time to change the lifestyle you have chosen. You are not only harming yourself but also the person you are expected to take care of. In this situation, if you do not take care of your own health and rest, you become increasingly unable to take care of another.
It is very important to realize that people who do not help others and are not in your situation are not qualified to make judgments and/or accusations.
- Wouldn’t my parents’ health have deteriorated, or could it have improved if you hadn’t moved them to a nursing home?
“Mom wouldn’t get the flu if I watched her at home”; “Dad would eat better and not lose weight if I still took care of him”; “My wife would still recognize me if we were at home together”;
If any of the three thoughts have passed through your mind – reject them, you do not need them, and they are not a hundred percent true. No one has the strength to control health, advancing age or cognitive abilities. It is in our nature to blame ourselves that something could have been done better if we had done it ourselves, but no one can predict the future or vice versa – to go back in time to find our which solution was more correct. Maybe the situation would have been different if your parents had stayed at home, maybe it would have been exactly the same, and it could have been much worse than it currently is. Neither you, nor the doctor, nor anyone else can make a definitive statement.
Never forget why you made this difficult decision. You probably felt the health and safety of your loved ones threatened. Changing and choosing to move into a new home is what needs to be done to prevent the worse that can happen in time.
Everyone who wants to see Blocks Senior Living as a possible future home for their parents goes through such a conversation. During the visit and conversation with our team, they can see how appropriate, cozy and safe the environment is in Blocks Adult Care, which is only a part of the entire Blocks Campus. In addition to nursing homes, it has the nature of Vitosha mountain, a medical center, a hospice, and soon a rehabilitation hospital, which will offer technologies such as antigravity paths, hydrotherapy pool and water treadmill, as well as high-tech robotic machines for movement.
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