“Dad desperately wanted to leave the nursing home. Every time I called him, I’d say, ‘Dad, I’m going to get you home by Christmas.’ I got him home on 12/23 and I considered that one of my greatest accomplishments. When I found out Mom couldn’t get him into bed without help, I laid awake the whole night wondering what the hell I had just done.”
I’m a ponderer—it’s how I figure things out. One thing I’ve figured out is how the powers of ‘Guilt” and ‘Love” lead otherwise intelligent people like us into emotionally and physically devastating quagmires. Like bringing Dad home from a nursing home without figuring out how we’re going to care for him.
I can’t fix your guilt; only you can learn to manage your feelings. I don’t want to interfere with your love for your parent. What I can do is share basic planning tools that will help analyze changes before you make them.
- Define your objective in writing. (Multi-taskers: note the singular. Deal with one objective at a time).
- Make three columns: List the benefits of the proposed change on the left, the obstacles/problems in the middle, and your solutions in the third column.
- Note to optimists: Ditch the optimism, be a realistic pessimist for planning. Try to see the effect of the change before you make it.
Evaluate your solutions:
- Affordability: Do your financial homework. Estimate costs and study the results carefully. Can you afford your objective? What are you willing to do without?
- Physical/Emotional Quality of Life: Who will help you? Will your family participate? How will this impact your own health issues? Can you take on more stress?
- Practicality: How does your family feel about the change? How will the change affect your job? If your home is involved, is it suitable for what you want to do?
- Talk the change over with your family and friends. Review your notes and conversations and anwer honestly, "Can I achieve my objective and still maintain my family's and my quality of life? Will this work or am I ignoring the flashing red light that means, STOP?"
Trust Yourself. You Have the Knowledge, Insight & Power to make the right decisions for you and your parent.©