Monday, February 4, 2013

Decisions Are Hard to Make

Dad celebrated his 72nd birthday this year.  I took him to lunch at a local diner and he had his BLT.  The waitress put a candle in his sandwich.  He got a kick out of that, as you can tell with the smile that's on his face.

The place he lives had a Tea Party that same afternoon so Dad attended and had a great time visiting with neighbors and, of course, eating snack food.  Here he is being the ladies-man!  He sure does attract the ladies where he lives.  Dad reports that he doesn't really get involved in all the activities of the place but I know better.  The ladies make sure I know exactly what Dad has been up to every day I walk through the front door.  In fact, if no one is in the front lobby or community room to give me my 'dad update', I feel like I'm suddenly missing out on something.

The wrist button.
The receiver - we tested it
and you can even hear
Dad if he's in the bathroom
with the fan and
water running,
and the door closed!
Today we got Dad set up with the "I've fallen and I can't get up" button.  It is an emergency call button he wears on his wrist.  If he has an emergency he presses it and within 45 seconds an operator comes on over a large receiver on his counter and asks him if he is OK   If he is not, or they hear no response, they will call 911 and me.  I feel a lot safer knowing he has that but he's not sure.  He called me a few times already asking me questions about the button.  I hope he wears it at night like he's supposed to but something tells me this may be an issue.

Napoleon Bonaparte once said that, "nothing is more difficult, and therefore more precious, than to be able to decide".  Decisions are tough and when we are faced with having to make difficult ones we often avoid making them.  In my case I just wish someone would make it for me.  But then I'll probably fight them on it and nothing will ever get resolved.  When I am tempted to wait for people to make the decision for me I am reminded of an ancient Chinese proverb that says, "a wise man makes his own decisions, an ignorant man follows public opinion".  When it comes time for us, as children, to make important decisions for our parents, it is especially tough and no one knows what it feels like until they are in that position.  Proverbs reminds us that when making decisions, to "...stay away from fools".  But there's always the question, "Am I the fool?"

There are two fears associated with decision-making.

1)  Afraid we will make the wrong decision and

2) Afraid of backlash from people who may fail to support you

It is becoming more and more apparent to me that Dad should not be living alone.  Although he has the fellowship of neighbors,  once the door to his apartment is closed, he is alone.  He has very little concept of space and time.  He can not remember what he was just doing a few moments ago and I'm afraid that anyone could knock on his door and take advantage of him.  Again, the building is very secured and he keeps his door locked at all times but this is still a scenario that plays out in my head often.  In fact, there are scenarios playing out in my head a lot of times that aren't good.  After the revelation recently that I need to be present when Dad is showering, it seems the decision is, indeed, being made for me.

The assisted living facilities I have located are not taking new residents at this time. There is a waiting list and currently the wait list is about 6 months long.  There is a two-bedroom unit opening up next month in Dad's building and a new tenant would prefer a one-bedroom.  Again, perhaps this decision is being made for me.

The loss of independence is tough on the elderly.  It's tough on any of us and as a caregiver/son, it seems I am surrendering more and more of my independence to care for my father.  It won't be forever and I need to remember that.  At tops it would mean 6-8 months until I can get him in to an assisted living facility.

One last quote.  Perhaps you have this in a frame or under a magnet on your refrigerator door.  But there is much truth to this saying:  The Will of God will never lead you, where His Grace cannot keep you.   I am trusting that God is moving things around and positioning them to allow me to make the important decisions with clarity of mind and sight.

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