Moving into residential care is a big change for not only the person who is actually doing the moving, it is also a big change for the family member who was caring for their loved one. Some carers feel that there is now a gap in their own lives now that the person they have cared for has moved into residential care.
It is normal to feel a wide range of emotions, including:
- Worry – Wondering if they’ve done the right thing, and if their loved one will be looked after.
- Guilt – Many feel guilt, perhaps because they feel they ought to still be doing the caring tasks, or as though they have betrayed the person.
- Grief – Caring for a person at home helps retain a sense of the way things used to be, and the physical parting may add another dimension to the grieving process.
- Reduced Stress – Their lives no longer need to be centered around the practical tasks of caring or organising help
- Relief – Their responsibilities are now lightened, especially if they were caring for someone with dementia or had high, complex needs.
- They may also be more able to sleep.
The positive effects may also cause you to feel guilty about a sense of ‘relief’. But it is important to remember the reasons why the decision was made to move your loved one into care. Also, the time you spend with the person may now be more relaxed and enjoyable for you both because someone else is now doing the physical day-to-day caring of your loved one.
You daily activities will suddenly change when your loved one moves in care, but this does not mean you no longer have a caring role because someone else is doing all or most of the physical tasks of caring. Remember that you are essential because you are the ‘expert’ when it comes to caring for that person. If you would like to continue to care, you are able to do so how much or as little as you want to. You can work along side the professional care workers to inform, advise, recommend, help make decisions and encourage the best possible quality of care for their new resident, your loved one.
If you are having a hard time adjusting to no longer being the sole carer for your loved one, talk with the facility to see in what capacity you can continue to help care for your loved one. Talk with the facility, or also Age Concern who may be able to point you in the direction of local support groups.
Keep in mind the reasons that the decision was made for your loved one to move into care.