Torments of conscience – how to deal with them, when it is necessary to get help from a therapist or nursing home?

by | Nov 10, 2023 | Caregiving, Uncategorized, Wellness & Health


Your family member has reached a point where he needs help with daily activities and you are no longer able to provide that help. In this case, there is no choice but to get a therapist to help your older family members deal with daily tasks. The uncertainty about who is the person who will help the family member who needs help, causes you pangs of conscience. Feelings of guilt even increase, when the elderly is a person who has taken care of you all your life and now you are the ones who have to take care of him.

In any case, if it is difficult for you to take care of your elderly family member, due to some kind of cognitive and/or functional deterioration. Therefore, he needs care and supervision for 24 hours a day, you should not feel guilty and I will immediately explain why.

This is a natural matter because when our loved ones need our help, we will be drawn to their help. Just as our loved ones helped us when they were younger. This thought is admirable, but at the same time, it is not realistic at all. When people age and their health deteriorates, they need help that more than two or three people are able to give. We cannot leave our offspring and work aside and go take care of our elderly family members two or three times a week.

Therefore, we start looking for other treatment options, despite being full of guilt.

Treatment options that are not in a nursing home-

1. In your family’s home-

This option means that we actually allow the elderly family member to live with us in our home, of course if the space in our home is sufficient for that. If this is the path we choose for them, we need the other family members not to show any objection to it.

Home Care..

2. Elderly clubs-

If our elderly family member is still sober, or has a slight cognitive decline, this can be a wonderful option for them for employment during the day. At the Senior Citizens Club, your older family members will be able to receive close supervision as well as diverse options for employment. This option means that your family member is under supervision that is not yours.

3. Home Caregiver-

Another potential option, this, is a caregiver at home. But, pangs of conscience are still gnawing at you and you are not the ones giving your elderly family member all the care. The person who takes care of them is a stranger who helps you. In any case, it is important to remember that your family member has someone who cares and cares, while you can take care of your own things.

4. Placing the elderly in out-of-home housing-

When the day comes, home care is no longer an option. You must have promised yourself that you would never put your family member in a nursing home. But, the time comes when you must break this promise.

If your family member suffers from delusions or wanders and can’t find his way home. You have no choice here, but to find him an institutional arrangement. If it has already become physically and mentally difficult for you to take him down and get him back to bed. You have no choice but to find an institutional arrangement for your older family member. Another example of this is that it is physically difficult for you to pick up and take down your family member from the bed, due to a stroke and you must call for help for this. This is, in fact, another clear sign that your older family member needs an institutional arrangement.

How to overcome the pangs of conscience that attack us when placing our elderly family member in an institutional arrangement?

Your understanding that the care of the elderly dear to you requires more help than you are able to give, causes pangs of conscience to rise. You know you are unable to care for your elderly family member alone, but you cannot stop the guilt from overwhelming you.

what can be done?

A. Acknowledge that you are doing and have done the best you can for your elderly family member – to truly understand that you have done and are doing everything possible to take care of your elderly family member.

Today people live longer than in the past and are generally in much worse shape than in the past. If you had sent your dear elderly person to a nursing home 40 years ago, he probably wouldn’t have survived the way he can today, in today’s nursing homes.

B. Do your research on nursing homes – It is very important to take the initiative and find the best geriatric facility for your elderly family members. This means, go and make visits to the various institutions close to your area of ​​residence. Make it a family project. Go together with the rest of the family to visit the various institutions or have a tour of duty, then discuss what you think about the places you saw. Ask questions and do some background research on the different places you’ve seen, in order to find the best place for your older family member.

This process will ensure that you do everything possible to find the best facility for your loved one and you will feel confident that your loved one is safe. By doing so, you will be able to trust the staff of the institution to take care of your loved one, as you do.

C. You still take care of them – although you moved your dear family members to a nursing home, you still take care of them. You can and even in some cases should be appointed as a guardian for them and also serve as their main caregivers (the contacts with the institution’s staff).

Make sure that you can put the personal belongings of your family members into their room in the nursing home, in order to make their room as similar as possible to their home, before entering the nursing home. You should stay in frequent contact with your senior’s ward staff. When you release the feelings of guilt, you will be able to start enjoying being with your dear family members. the difference?

What would happen if you let go of your guilty feelings that cause pangs of conscience?

You will not feel that you are tied to the needs of the elderly dear to you. You will have more time for yourself and you can devote yourself to your hobbies again. You won’t feel tired and you can do positive things for them like bringing your children and grandchildren to visit. You can bring them foods and movies they like to watch.

When you release the feelings of guilt, you will be able to do all these things with feelings of joy and love and not out of pangs of conscience. Your older family member will also feel more relaxed this way and will thank you for devoting your valuable time to him to make them happier.

What do you need to remember?

It is very important to tell yourself again and again that you are doing the best for your older family member and for yourself. You are all human and are not able to do so much for them on your own. Although you broke your promise not to put them in a nursing home, by visiting them often, you are still their primary caregiver. You don’t have to feel guilty about putting them in a geriatric center, it’s all for their benefit and yours.

Registered: Irit Rabinowitz, M.A. in social work in the field of health and rehabilitation.