Suggesting Assisted Living to Mom Doesn’t Mean You Don’t Care: It Means You Know Your Limits
September is Self-Care Awareness Month and for those who are supporting an aging loved one, like a parent, the topic of assisted living could come up. Unfortunately, a number of these family caregivers assume that even mentioning this elder care option is a sign that they actually don’t care.
Nothing could be further from the truth. However, that doesn’t help very often, knowing that. It can actually make things worse for some people.
There are some individuals who will take the word of an aging parent, for example, as gospel. If their elderly mother says, “You just don’t care about me anymore” or, “After all I did for you, this is how you repay me,” then that is a difficult pill to swallow.
Everyone has their limits.
First and foremost, this is a reality you need to accept. You have your limits. There is only so much you can do. You might not be working, have the benefit of being financially independent or in a good partnership with somebody so that you don’t have to work a full-time job or even several part-time jobs just to make ends meet.
Even if that’s the case (which it most certainly is not for the majority of family caregivers out there), you have limits on your time, your physical abilities, your emotions, and more.
When you begin exceeding your limitations, you start to run into serious challenges, some of which can increase the risk of serious health issues, like a heart attack, stroke, hypertension, high blood pressure, and more.
Right now, you may be trying to bring up the topic of assisted living to this aging person, but are being met with resistance. Perhaps you’ve heard from them or even a sibling or a close friend something like, “You just don’t care enough.”
Those are cruel and heartless words and they certainly don’t hold water when you weigh all of the sacrifices you have made to support this individual through the many months or even years you have been acting as their primary caregiver.
You need to take care of yourself.
When you know you are exceeding your limits, when you are pushing your mind, body, and/or spirit way beyond what it is capable of handling, it’s time to step back.
This doesn’t mean that senior is going to listen to you about any elder care option, assisted living or otherwise. That is not your responsibility.
What you need to do is be firm in your decision. If you have decided that you need to step back, take some time off, support this individual less than what you have been offering, then don’t let anyone discourage you from that.
Here’s what can happen if you don’t: you can get worn out. You might get frustrated. You could end up saying things you don’t mean and will regret, maybe for the rest of your life. You can make mistakes, overlook something important, be so tired and frustrated and anxious that something so simple, yet vital to their safety, was missed.
Right now could very well be the time for you to take better care of yourself and know your limits. When you do, consider assisted living as a topic to discuss with this aging senior in your life.