Parents & Nursing Homes: Getting Over The Guilt

getting over the guilt

Most of us face the prospect of watching our parents get old. It’s the cycle of life, and as much as we tell ourselves it will all be OK and smooth running, nothing can really prepare you for what might come.

Ultimately, there will be tough decisions to make, not least deciding on the best way to care for your parents. And if you make the decision to find a nursing home for them, it would be no surprise if you feel terrible guilt about it. But you will not be alone.

Many people feel this guilt, and there are a few things you should realize that might help you deal with your emotions. Let’s take a closer look at everything you need to know.

getting over the guilt

It’s not your fault

First of all, you have to realize that you didn’t cause your parent’s illness. And no matter how guilty you feel, it isn’t going to change their continuing suffering. Yes, they might seem like they are happier at home, but no one wants their folks to experience pain and suffering that can’t actually be managed as well as it can in a medical environment.


Sometimes it’s necessary

When your parents are chronically ill or approaching the end times, they will be incredibly uncomfortable. End of life care nursing is a highly specialized skill, that encompasses all kinds of support, from the physical to the emotional. You might know your parents as well as you know the back of your hands, but unless you have had years of training and experience, you won’t be able to care for them as safely and as comfortably as they need.


You have choices

When you make the decision that your parents need full-time care in a home, you still have plenty of power. Make sure that you research each care home thoroughly, and know about any incidents of complaints or poor quality treatment. Unfortunately, there are still many sub standard facilities in the country, so it is essential you make the right choice


You’re still a part of the team

Just because your parents are going to a home, it doesn’t mean that you will lose your advocacy. In fact, the best nursing homes will make you feel like an important part of the care team. It’s still a huge commitment that will involve a lot of your time, involvement, and decision-making.


It’s good for you – and your parents

When you are a full-time caregiver for your parents, things can get tricky. Not only do you have to deal with the emotional aspect of being a primary caregiver, but it is also exhausting. You can easily take your eyes off the ball and do something incorrectly, and you will also find it impacts hugely on your typical family and working lives. A nursing home can help you freshen up, avoid caregiver burnout, and approach your responsibilities with renewed vigor.


It can be hard to let go when you put your parents in a nursing home – they are your folks, after all, and your children’s grandparents. There will be a lot of guilt involved. By understanding some of the issues highlighted above, however, you will hopefully be able to see the positives.



  1. Hi Marina, looking after my parents as they get older is something that’s not far from the forefront of my mind. At the moment they are both fit and active 70-year-olds and it would be great if they remained that way, but I have to be realistic too. Care homes aren’t a thing here in Greece (both my parents live here too), so it would be down to me and my family to take care of them. I do think care homes are wonderful places if you find the right one. My Grandma ended her days in a lovely place after the family could no longer cope with her illness. She was looked after and had the company she enjoyed and she wasn’t too far away for everyone to be able to visit.



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