It can be very stressful to make life changing decisions, even more so when family members are involved.
Unfortunately, many families become fractured when the subject of Aging and Aged Care have to be faced. So many opinions are offered… resulting in arguments and tensions.
Understandably aging parents want “things” to stay the same. They want to stay independent for as long as possible. Help is seen as interference, and the first step to unwanted change.
Getting the right balance is a difficult task, yet the challenge must be faced. Sometimes there is no “best” answer… making the decision process all the more difficult.
Early planning is a key to achieving good outcomes. Rushing a decision rarely ends well. How many times have you rushed a decision only to regret it later on?
It is even worse when you have to make a decision because of an emergency. Emergencies change the environment… people can be deeply affected by an emergency.
It makes common sense to do all you can to avoid an emergency. Again, early planning helps avoid emergencies. Think of a young grandchild coming to visit. You make sure any dangerous items or likely trouble spots are cleared up or put away. You make sure there are no poisonous liquids that an inquisitive child can swallow. You put knives etc out of reach. You may even put away some precious ornaments, and shut certain doors and room - all to prevent an unwanted emergency.
Everyday, we take precautions to prevent emergencies. Put on a seat belt. Put on a hard hat. Put on bright clothing on industrial sites… googles… earmuffs etc. There is nothing unusual about taking measures to help prevent an emergency.
Making decisions related to aging and aged care should be no different. We need to look at procedures and map out plans that enhance the aging experience. Sadly, people often see these procedures inhibiting instead of enhancing the aging experience.
The journey of life is always accompanied by change and the need for decision. It is when we lack the knowledge and experience required in this process that things become difficult. Making decisions without knowledge and experience is fraught with danger.
It is no different when it comes to the aging process. We are faced with a new set of circumstances, often lacking the tools to cope.
Unfortunately, many ignore the obvious and “blunder” through. Rarely does this have good outcomes.
Be aware… making no decision is still making a decision - It just takes away your choices, leaving you or your loved ones vulnerable.
Decisions must be made… Making wise decisions is the challenge.
Under His Wings,
Rabbi Philip Hammond.