The Promise vs. the Reality
The “Promise” vs. the Reality
Ah, the Pinky Promise. We all remember making them. And, as adults with aging parents, we are reminded about the conversations we’ve had. Promises to our parents or a loved one to “keep them home” or other things we tell ourselves. We sat down with our Senior Living Advisor and Personal Care experts and had a conversation about what that “promise” looks like and their long term implications.
Denise: We all have good intentions when we talk about never “putting” our loved one in a facility – the problem is that none of us know what the future will hold.
You’re right Denise. Many families play the Wait & See game, rolling the dice that nothing bad will happen.
In reality, sometimes things just happen, not planned and we find ourselves in a hospital with the discharge planner saying, “It’s not safe for Mom to return home alone” which causes everyone to go into a tailspin and make promises and commitments without knowing the full consequences of those decisions.
What if the very thing you promised hurts your loved one?
What if it turns out that the best care for your loved one is in a top-notch dementia facility?
What if a sibling, who promised to be there every step of the way, is no longer willing or able to help?
Making promises that have long term implications in a “what if” world are sometimes hard to live up to.
I meet with adult children all the time who describe feelings of guilt that are so strong that they feel like they’re being held prisoners by their promises – unfortunately many times their parents feel the same way!
- Relationship changes to that of a “job”. Parents don’t understand why you don’t “just sit and visit” You’re sandwiching their needs into your lifestyle and own family.
- Family dynamics change – it’s now a family affair that extends well beyond the “immediate” family (spouses, in-laws, brothers/sisters, sometimes even close family friends) – appointments must be kept, documentation, filing forms, etc.
- Feel burnout from managing your own home & family plus constant concern for a loved one’s wellbeing.
- Good intentions – sometimes lead to feelings of guilt when the job & time investment is MUCH more than originally expected.
The reality is that nursing homes or, personal care homes or assisted living facilities, that you have seen, or are often the basis of that conversation of “put” loved one in a facility doesn’t exist at Menno Haven- which means we’re helping you to keep your promise.
It’s worth the time to take a look at all the options before the need arises.
- Don’t be afraid to start talking and get involved early so that you can make the best plan.
- Take time to investigate options for both short and long term
- Allow enough flexibility that as situations change, you’re ready to change with them.
- Educate and be involved so that you can navigate and manage conversations
- Identify alternatives so you can prioritize and actively participate in decision-making
- Define your support system and understand the strengths and limitations of those who will be supporting your loved one
In summary here are some tips to help you keep your promise:
- Make commitments based on your intentions
- Promise to take the best possible care of your parents or loved one
- Promise to respect them and their wishes
- Commit that your priority will be a balance of their safety and happiness
- Promising a particular place or method in advance limits the ability to carry out your good intentions
If you had nodded your head to any of the points above, please reach out to chat. We are a no-pressure support system that can help walk alongside you as you navigate caregiving.
Call Jodi Lomison at 717.217.4962 or contact us here