Forgiveness is Not Easy, But it Heals
“It’s one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, to forgive. Forgive everybody.”
— Maya Angelou
Caregiving requires making hard decisions at every step of the journey. Some decisions are easier than others, like who will take dad to the doctor or mom shopping. Then there are the life altering decisions, like what to do if mom is not safe at home alone, dad needs to stop driving or a spouse is showing signs of dementia. Deciding on the right course is never easy and truthfully, it often feels like there are no good options. Family members are left with guilt and regret about the decision.
When both parties feel strongly about their position, decisions big and small bring up emotions like anger, resentment, frustration and guilt. Caregivers feel a range of emotions when parents make unsafe choices, like getting on a ladder or staying in a home with stairs. Our elders have the same emotions when they feel control is being taken away. Too often this disconnect causes such conflict that it negatively affects the relationship.
One of the most conflict-driven decisions is the discussion about leaving home and moving to a community. The very discussion itself can leave both parties angry, resentful and entrenched in these emotions. How do you move forward and heal the relationship? How do you move forward and forgive yourself for not doing what your family member desires? First, understand that healing and moving forward is a process. It requires acceptance and forgiveness for both the other person and for yourself. The positive effect forgiveness has on our emotional health and well-being is thoroughly documented. But getting to forgiveness is not easy, especially for ourselves.
“Forgiveness is healing…especially forgiving yourself.”
— Alyson Noel, Novelist
Springpoint at Homes highly trained Aging Life Care Advisors™ / Care Managers can help. They do not take lightly a recommendation to place a loved one in a community. They understand a past trauma and the history of an elder can exacerbate negative feelings about moving out of their home. At the same time, they understand the emotional distress family members feel when they cannot keep the family member home and safe.
As social workers and geriatric specialists, our Aging Life Care Advisors™ / Care Managers are trained to help families adjust and move forward. When a member of our team validates what you see and you hear, “I see what you see. Moving mom out of the house seems like the best course of action. It is nothing you did, you did your best”, allows you to accept your decision. With acceptance, healing can start by forgiving yourself. Healing the relationship with your loved one requires forgiveness as well, because without it, there is no moving forward into a healthy relationship.
“Forgiveness says you are given another chance to make a new beginning.”
— Desmond Tutu