Updated: Apr 3
Families share some of their most challenging times with their elder law attorneys. Over the course of my practice, one of the most difficult circumstances is when the adult child caregiver finds it necessary to transition their parent from the familial home to a new setting. This is just awful for all concerned.
The issues that give rise to this circumstance involve safety, care management, and the need for social contact. This is because their parent is particularly vulnerable due to age and declining health. For many seniors the thought of leaving their home is terrible and unacceptable. Somewhere along the way they may have communicated to their family that they would rather die than go into a skilled nursing facility. There may be a suggestion of suicide as an option. Others will extract a promise from their adult child caregiver that they will never move them into a facility. Often the adult child will make that promise because it is just too difficult to discuss that the time may come anyway, and there is no other choice.
For some seniors the need to transition to a new living situation does actually happen because of safety and care management concerns. If the adult child feels there is no other choice, then they will have to carry through the transition regardless of what they may have promised their parents. This often causes the adult child great anxiety and enduring guilt.
The point here is that all of us working with the family need to recognize the pain the family is experiencing. The need to remain at arm’s length to do our job must be balanced and tempered by empathy for those we serve.