Handling The Emotions Of Moving Into Nursing Homes

Handling The Emotions Of Moving Into Nursing Homes

The reality of frequently moving into a retirement home only settles once you begin packing your belongings before your move-in date. Moving into senior housing can be emotionally taxing like any other significant life event. To reduce stress during the moving process, it’s crucial to sit back and evaluate how you’re feeling.

This article will help you manage the emotions of moving to a nursing home by providing tips and steps to respond to the emotions you’ll encounter.

The Emotions Involved in Making a Move

Reluctance to go into a care home. Despite clear and practical justifications—such as that running a household has become too much for your parent to handle or that their quality of life has declined—your parent may still be opposed to leaving. Resistance generally results from a range of feelings, such as regret about leaving behind familiar surroundings and memories, denial of aging, fear of loneliness, and worry about losing independence.

Anger and resentment. Due to the possibility that they feel abandoned and disregarded, parents may also experience wrath and resentment. They may ask, “Why are you torturing me like this? “or “You simply want me to leave. Inducing guilt with statements like, “You promised your father/mother you’d always take care of me,” your parent might also turn manipulative.

Guilt. Adult children frequently feel they are failing their parents when deciding to have them move into a nursing home. But if home care is an option, you’ve probably tried it and discovered it was stressful or unsuitable for your parent or the rest of your family. Keep in mind that you are operating in the best interests of everyone involved.

Did You Know?

Guilt and grief are some of the most challenging feelings caregivers must face when transitioning from home to a care facility. 

Alzheimer’s Association

Resurfacing of feelings connected to past issues. You can experience regret that your relationship with your parent was never as good as you had hoped if you’ve had a tense one. Having to take care of a parent who didn’t raise you may make you angry at the same time.

Health and relationship implications. Your partner might feel abandoned, your employment and health might suffer due to the anxiety interfering with your sleep and ability to concentrate, and your siblings might make matters worse by letting you handle the burden alone.

Handling The Emotions 

If you’re the one moving

Embrace your emotions. Everyone requires some time to adjust and process their emotions. Refusing to accept the challenges of the shift or trying to sweep anger and grief under the rug will only worsen these feelings.

Keep in mind that you are not doing this alone. For many of us over 65, long-term care services will be necessary. And it’s okay to acknowledge that you require more assistance now than you did.

Don’t be too hard on yourself. Losing your freedom is not a sign of weakness; losses are a natural part of getting older. Without criticizing or calling yourself out, allow yourself to feel unhappy or upset about changes in your home circumstances.

Be receptive to new opportunities. You’ll be better equipped to deal with change in a situation if you keep an open mind to new approaches to simplify life. It’s possible to make new acquaintances or discover interests you’d never have thought about, thanks to fresh situations and experiences.

If it’s your family member who’s moving

Let your loved one take the initiative. The individual moving should, to the greatest extent feasible, be the one choosing the best nursing facility. When visiting different nursing homes, people should bring things from home and make decisions about how to decorate their rooms. Family members should attempt to imagine what the older adult’s wishes may have been if they cannot express them themselves.

Help your loved one cope with their loss of independence. Encourage them to stay in touch with their friends and family and to be open to exploring new hobbies.

After the relocation, maintain regular communication. Regular visits from relatives and friends smooth the adjustment for your departed loved one. Frequent phone calls, letters, and emails can significantly impact you, even if you live far away. Keep your loved one informed of family activities as much as possible.

How To Cope After a Nursing Home Placement

  • Recognize symptoms of guilt, grief, and adjustment.
    • When you have a pleasurable encounter, you could feel guilty.
    • You might go through a vicious cycle of guilt, relief, and guilt.
    • You might not be pleased with how the facility’s staff treats you.
    • You might experience a continual yearning to be in the facility.
    • You might experience anxiety or depression.
    • You may not want to consider making medical directives, such as a DNR order.
  • Recognize that your emotions and responses are normal. Be honest about your feelings with both yourself and others.
  • Give yourself some time; these challenging emotions will fade and eventually pass.
  • Consider your relationship with your loved one as “new.” While others are now readily available around-the-clock to assist with the physical care and to ensure your loved one’s safety, you will still be their caregiver. You will be their voice in their new home, and you can make the most of your time together.
  • After the move, avoid doing everything at once.
  • Take the time to do something enjoyable for yourself every day with intention.
  • Make a schedule or a strategy so that you and other people visit your loved one frequently.
  • Take steps to foster positive relationships with people in charge of your loved one’s physical care.
  • It is up to you to decide how to handle unpleasant emotions. Spend time speaking with a friend, a therapist, or a religious figure.
  • Establish connections with other caregivers, family, and friends.


Remember that most older adults eventually accept the relocation and continue to find fulfillment and meaning during their transition process into a care facility. Be compassionate and patient, ask for support when needed, and don’t undervalue time’s role in reducing transition strain.