Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The family caregiver: should you feel guilty about moving mom or dad out of their home?

It’s been a cold, snowy week here in Oregon. The schools are closed and people are being advised to stay inside and off the roads if at all possible.

I called my mom first things to see how she was doing. She moved into a retirement center about a year ago – not entirely of her own free will. From time to time I wonder how much she misses her old home, set far out in the country surrounded by acres of pasture and woods.

She began our conversation this morning by telling me how no one wanted to walk outside in her village. The risks from a fall are simply too great at their age to take the chance.

My mom, of course, gets restless and starts calling her neighbors. “I have to get out to do laundry anyway,” she says. Her cottage is right next door to the laundry room; her closest neighbor is just one door further down.

By the end of the day yesterday she had joined one friend across the lawn for lunch (“she had made enough soup for an army!”) and spent the rest of the afternoon at her nearest neighbor’s place playing a 3-D version of Scrabble that’s her current favorite game.

I was, at that moment, so very thankful that my mom had moved into a close community of seniors. She’s not at home, alone, trying to stay warm and occupied.

She’s active, healthy and happy. Her mind and her heart are filled with activity and companionship.

We have much to be thankful for this holiday season!

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