Thursday, January 05, 2006

What am to do?

Question: How does one keep from making promises or assurances one does not know if one can keep?

Need a little more context? I was visiting with a person in a nursing home who sounded dejected. It seemed that this person's child had decided that she could no longer live by herself and placed her in this home. She was, reasonably, having trouble adjusting from an independent life to life in a nursing home.

My gut instinct was to reassure her that her child had her best interests in mind. I wanted to tell her that her child loved her deeply and that having considered all the options, determined this was the best one.

Trouble is, I don't know the child. I refused to promise her that I knew this had been done out of love and concern.

Well, wonder of wonders, not only did I hear from the child about my lack of support, but I was chastised for not supporting the decision. I was told that the traditional practice of active listening did not work with this kind of situation. In other words, I was asked not to talk with her anymore if I couldn't say things supporting the decision to place her there.

There are far too many people abandoned to nursing facilities because families don't want to deal with them for me to assume that wasn't the case here. I did not have enough information to offer any support one way or another.

I would be happy to receive your input.


At 8:05 PM, Blogger Richard H said...

It's tough. Your job is to support your person. Sometimes when you support people you make them happy - you give them what they want. Sometimes you don't. Sometimes you give them the best support and it ticks them off.

At 4:45 PM, Anonymous Carol Pagel said...

I agree completely. I see so many that do have family's coming daily, others that are visited by family and friends when possible, and then those that are never visited. We put my grandmother in a nursing home in the town that Mom was living in. I was going to move there to be nearer, and visited about every other weekend. She ended up passing away 6 months before I got moved. At least I know that on the weekends I was there, if possible, we went to church. And I bought her hamburgers whenever she wanted.


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