"First we are children to our parents, then parents to our children, then parents to our parents, then children to our children"
July 13, 2011 12:07 PM Subscribe
Who knows best for an aging parent?
posted by justkevin to Health & Fitness (17 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
My mom's memory underwent a steep decline a few years ago and then leveled off. Her short term memory is very poor, but otherwise mental faculties are good; she remembers normal events from years ago, and given the facts can reach reasonable conclusions, but won't remember that she's mentioned something several times in a conversation (for example).
At the advice of her doctors and friends, at the beginning of the year, my sister and I moved her into a retirement community. She wasn't super enthusiastic about the plan and kept procrastinating, but frequently agree that it was probably a good idea.
Since moving in, she complains regularly that she is homesick. Sometimes she states outright that she wants to move home, other times she seems resigned to living at the new community (which she admits is very nice, but not home). Two weeks ago she told my sister that it was okay to sell her house. On Monday she left me a message saying she wanted to move home.
We've made a lot of effort to get her to like the new place-- I visit at least weekly, my sister makes a six hour drive up at least once a month, her friends tell her that it's much better for her, we've hired someone to come and keep her company and take her out, the community has events every day, etc. Nobody seems to think she should move home but her. We can get a home aid to monitor her safety and pill reminders, but the primary concern is that she will become isolated without other people to socialize with.
Legally, she has complete self-determination. If she called up the movers tomorrow and told the community, "I'm out of here," nobody would stop her. As a practical matter, that's highly unlikely. She needs my help to handle the logistics, and I won't do anything without my sister being on-board (she is currently opposed to the idea).
So my question is, given a charge with somewhat diminished mental faculties, should I listen to her unevenly articulated desires or the opinions of her friends, family and doctors?
(This is not one of those questions that's going to have a clear and easy answer, but I'm hoping to gain perspective from people who have had to make similar decisions.)