Making Tough Decisions

Hello everyone:

When do you decide that Mom or Dad needs more help than you can give them? How do you know what’s best for their time of life?

These can be hard questions to answer. The gal in this picture looks happy and vital but she may have physical needs that go beyond her family’s ability to cope. I have a dear friend whose mother has been a happy, pleasant, kind person her whole life. She was a super wife and wonderful mother. But now she needs help.

I have some other friends who are making decisions about their father’s care. He has been there for them their entire lives. He has been a superb father and a loving husband. A recent fall has accelerated his need for assistance.

Another friend from church has an ailing wife. She has had cancer for several years and neither of them can attend church anymore because she can’t be left alone and can’t take the chance that someone at church will make her sick. With her cancer, a simple cold could kill her. What is her family to do?

We, as family members, are faced with a dilemma: how do we do the best for our loved one who is in need while not ignoring the responsibilities of our immediate family? Therein lies the problem. If we spend too much time away from our own family, that can cause relationship problems. If we don’t spend enough time with our loved one who needs us, that person could fail more quickly than he or she would otherwise.

I believe that the best way to handle this is through prayer and through understanding the needs of the people involved. If you finances will allow for a private duty nurse or CNA, that might be the best solution for your family. If there is a good adult daycare in your area, that might help others. Perhaps assisted living is the best route for now; there are some excellent homes out there where your loved one can have some degree of independence while he or she is in this “new normal” life.

It would be a blessing to hear how your family has handled the delicate situation you have faced. Do post your comments and thoughts, so that we can all reach out to help others at this difficult time.


Dr. Sheri

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