When “I’ll never move you to a home,” isn’t true anymore

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I was inspired to write this post after reading a question from one of my blog followers. And, of course, it isn’t the first time I’ve heard something like this.

So many people tell their loved ones, “I’ll always take care of you at home,” or, “I promise I’ll never move you into a nursing home.” Unfortunately, sometimes these “promises” don’t pan out. Sometimes, that move has to happen. 

Inevitably, caregivers always feel terribly guilty when they move their loved ones into a care community—but they feel even worse when they find themselves “breaking a promise.”

The reality of the situation is this: caregivers sometimes make the best decision they can by choosing a care community for their loved one’s life. Sometimes the best thing that you can do for another person is to break a promise you made…because that broken promise means that person can have a safer, better life.

I think that caregivers chain themselves to something unfair when they say, “I won’t move you.” So many people feel compelled to make that promise, and yet, it is so hard for caregivers to understand the journey that they’ll be going on, caring for another human being.

Caregiving is hard, and I think that a lot of people underestimate that. They don’t realize how challenging it is going to be.

What I’m emphasizing is this: it’s okay to break that promise. As long as you’re making a decision in the best interest of your loved one, you’re doing the right thing.

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Rachael Wonderlin has a Master’s in Gerontology and is the author of two published books with Johns Hopkins University Press. She owns Dementia By Day, a dementia care consulting company.

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