Daughter's Eulogy

Monday, August 13, 2012

Elder Care . . . the Right Decision?

A few days ago I received a comment that made me stop right in my tracks and reflect on the right and wrong way to help an aging parent or loved one.  The person has a different point of view than mine. So you completely understand the importance of this blog, I am posting jkh’s comment to me:

First of all, you should be ashamed your mom is in a nursing home. With all the time you waste on this stupid blog you could have her at your home or hers taking care of her. Not shut away in a home. I took care of my mother and worked full time with 3 hours of sleep a day and much blood sweat and tears, $ and my time. If you took care of your mother what a nice way to spend the rest of her time here on earth instead of with strangers by jkh.

When I read jkh’s note to some of my close friend’s they told me not to give this person the time of day.  I must admit I considered putting this comment in spam email.  Thank goodness I did not because this person brought up a good question:  Is it a son or daughter’s responsibility to care for their parent or parents in their home as opposed to having them cared for by professionals?

Today as Baby boomers age we find ourselves making tough decisions about how to care for our elderly parents when our parents can no longer take care of themselves any longer or become sick with dementia or Alzheimer’s.

I truly feel there is no right or wrong way to care for your loved one as long as you do what is in the best interest of your loved one, your family, and yourself. 

For jkh clearly the best interest must have been to care for their parent at home on an average of 3 hours of sleep while raising 3 children.  God bless this person for taking on this huge responsibility.  If he or she felt this was the right thing to do in their heart than they made a good decision.  A decision he or she can live with the rest of his or her life.

My philosophy is different not better. I believe that caregivers must take care of themselves.  Some people often risk their own physical health and mental health by their commitment to do what in their mind they believe to be the only right choice. Being a caregiver is frustrating, overwhelming, as well as, physically and mentally exhausting. Caregivers are no good to others if they are unable to care for themselves.

My belief is that in mom’s case, she is far better off in a full-service facility that has a nursing staff around the clock that can and does take care of mom better than I or my brothers could.  In addition, mom has the ability to make friends and participate in activities that help her feel more independent and help her to accept and make the best of her medical limitations.  My true belief is that we have given mom a better quality of life being at The Community*.

Certainly not all nursing homes are reputable.  Choosing the right home for your loved one takes time and research.  You must also check up regularly and make sure your loved ones needs are met with kindness.

The staff at The Community* is caring.  They handle mom’s needs immediately.  Whether she has a bump on her eye, her legs swell, or she experiences constipation or diarrhea; they handle her conditions immediately.  We do not have to wait for a doctor’s appointment or a home remedy.

No one wants to go through this stage of life.  Most people’s wish is to just pass in his or her sleep.  Unfortunately, God does not give us this choice.  He chooses how we are leaving this earth.

Each and every child who finds themselves in this situation must decide what is best for their parent.  The decision is never an easy one and no matter which way you choose to go there is some guilt.  If you chose to care for your loved one at home, the guilt lays in does your parent or loved one feel like they are a burden on your family?  Are they happier in your home?  What kind of strain is this on your families’ needs? 

You have another option if you keep a loved one at their home or yours, by getting home health care.

If you put your loved one in a nursing home no matter how nice the home is there is still guilt.  We all live with some guilt because we wish we could be everything to everyone. My family and I have put many hours of blood, sweat and tears, dollars and time, too.

In the Bible Jesus says, “Honor thy father and mother”.  Truly looking at what is in their best interest and making sure they are well taken care of is how I interpret His command.

My brothers and I made the decision to put mom at The Community*.  We can all sleep at night with our decision because we considered all of our needs especially mom’s.  Each night when I say my prayers I thank God that mom is at The Community* and that she is in the best hands possible, that is until God calls her home. 


  1. I think that everybody's situation is different and you can't judge a person for their reasons without knowing all the facts. For instance my mother has told me to place her in a home where she can interact with people daily. I think you do a great job with your mother.

  2. Regarding jkh, ashamed...think that was a wrong choice of words.

  3. Well said, Cousin, it is not for us to judge, that is
    God's job.

    Love, Marveen

    1. Thanks, Marveen, I appreciate your comments:)

  4. I finally figured out how to post! Thanks Julienne for your help...I wanted to comment right away on the ridiculous comment from jkh, who apparently doesn't know anything about Gilda and the wonderful "home" she is blessed to be in called The Community*. After visiting Gilda last week with Julienne I can assure you Gilda is in the best place possible. The staff are loving, friendly and kind. The Community*, as Julienne calls it, is more like a resort for the elderly! Every resident was involved in some kind of activity, relaxing in one of the beautiful sun rooms or out enjoying the lovely gardens...no one was just left in their beds! As we walked around with Gilda after her hair appointment, smiling faces and warm greeting from so many people put a smile on all our faces, especially Gilda's. The Community* is a warm, loving environment that has professionals to care for Gilda's medical, emotional, and physical needs on a 24 hour basis. Julienne is able to handle any problems quickly with their help and they work closely as a team. No individual could possibly meet all Gilda's needs so quickly and appropriately as the wonderful people involved with her care at The Community*. Julienne and her brothers made the best decision possible for Gilda and there should absolutely be no guilt, just thanks to God for blessing them all with the "home" where Gilda is privileged to live. The proof is Julienne and Gilda have the best relationship of their lives and are able to complete "The Last Chapter" with LOVE. XOXOXO Lori

    1. Lori, I appreciate you spending the afternoon with mom and me. Mom really enjoyed seeing you, too. Thank you for your support:)