What do you say when a parent in assisted living asks, “When am I going home?” If you’re on the phone, you can hide the expression on your face. You can also wipe the tears without that parent seeing you.
Dad’s short-term memory has deteriorated because of dementia. He had been in the hospital for a blood transfusion and was moved from there to assisted living a few days ago.
Sunday evening, I spoke with my father on the phone. He said, “They’ll probably kick me out tomorrow.”
“Did they tell you that?”
I asked him why he said that, and he responded, “I’m a lot better now. I feel great.”
With tears running down my cheeks, I thanked God that Daddy couldn’t see me. I told him, “The doctor will decide when you can go home.” Then I switched to another topic.
Dad never mentioned that my younger brother and sister-in-law visited him on Saturday. I asked him if he had talked with them. He said he had, but I guess he forgot about their visit.
My younger brother called me two days later. He said Dad asked him, “When am I going home?”
My brother answered, “The doctor will decide when you can go home. You fell and hit your head at home. He wants you to be safe.”
If you’ve had that kind of conversation with a parent, how do you handle it? Do you pretend not to know? Do you say a quick prayer and say something similar to what my brother and I said? Maybe you answer the way one of the staff members answered my father, “In a while.”
In a similar situation, a friend took her mother to assisted living and told her it was her new home. She later emailed me, “Once my mother was settled there, she did much better than she would have at home. She was also happier.”
I Corinthians 13:7: “It [Love] always protects.”
Dear God, help me protect my parents, especially when it is difficult. Amen.
Copyright © by Yvonne Ortega IV.XXIV.MMXVII