My mom is having a tough time getting around now, but she is still very healthy. She is turning 79 this month and is living with my sister. My 2 brothers and my sister think it is time to put her in the rest home, but I just don’t feel any peace about the idea. I used to work in one and the conditions weren’t good. There were some nice people that worked there, but there were others I would never want to come anywhere near my mom. My husband and I both work right now and I can’t be there for her in the day, otherwise I would have her here. I’m so worried and I can’t even sleep at night right now. Can you tell me what is the right thing to do? Am I the only one out there that feels this way? My brothers and sister think I’m just being over sentimental. My sister even told me it would be good for me to see a therapist to help me deal with it. I’m so confused and I feel so alone in this. Why is this so hard?
There are many reasons that come to mind as to why this is difficult for you, but the one I want to focus on is in the Bible.
First, the Bible tells us to honor our Father and Mother. Even those who do not know scripture often wrestle with the underlying guilt that goes along with dropping mom or dad off. Instinctively, they question whether this is the right thing to do.
The “nursing home idea” was born in our country in the mid 1800’s and was designed more for widows without family support or single women who had little, if any family. Even then, as in the Bible times, it was expected that family cared for their own first.
One could argue that since nursing homes were essentially non-existent in Biblical times, it does not forbid the use of them. This is true; however, there are several places in scripture that instruct us as to what is proper concerning the care of our aging parents, and God uses strong words in the matter.
1Timothy 5:3-4 Honor widows who are widows indeed; but if any widow has children or grandchildren, they must first learn to practice piety in regard to their own family and to make some return to their parents; for this is acceptable in the sight of God.
1Timothy 5:8 But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.The responsibility to care for parents is falls on the family. Tragically today, society is sending forth the message that parents are not to be a burden on their children as they grow older. Obviously according to scripture this is false.
God feels so strongly about children caring for their parents that Jesus Himself chastised the Pharisees for telling their parents that they could not help them financially because they had given their money to the church. (see John 15:5-6)
In our culture, the trend is for parents to save their own hard earned money to pay the expenses that incur in their later years. According to God, this is wrong.
That being said, at times nursing homes do have their place and can be a valuable tool for recovery, especially if something is needed that can’t be given at home. However, if you ask the elderly who are admitted to a home how happy they are there, most of them will tell you that they want to go home and be with their families. Depression is a major problem in nursing homes. Having worked in them myself, it is my belief that earlier death is often a result.
Concerning your situation, here are some ideas you might consider:
- Hiring someone to come in and watch her during the day, preferably a family member if possible.
- A daycare type setting.
- This is sometimes hard for people to even consider, but can you get by with one income if you stayed home with her? Often, if we take an honest look at our situation, we realize we can do with less.
- Is anyone in the family willing to trade off days caring for her?
No matter what, there are sacrifices that will need to be made, but if we really think about the reality of the situation, were not our parents the first to make sacrifices for us? I believe that is exactly what God is alluding to in His Word. Our parents deserve better than to be “dumped off” for the sake of convenience when it is within our power to “do unto others what they have done to us.”
Deuteronomy 5:16 “Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, that your days may be prolonged and that it may go well with you on the land which the LORD your God gives you.”I hope this will be of help to you.