When a Loved One’s Care Decisions Are in Your Hands

Few of us are prepared for the enormous challenge of making choices for another adult. Unlike children, adults have their preferences, habits, and goals fairly well established, and they are notoriously resistant to giving up control. No matter how well we think we know someone, there are all sorts of finishing touches he or she expects in personal grooming, doing laundry, handling the finances, and especially at mealtime. It can seem like there are a thousand ways to do the simplest task wrong, and only one way to get it right.

The other side of the picture is this: that a person who has lost mental or physical capacity is often aware that something is wrong. Such a person is anxious to regain control of the situation. Small matters that would have been irrelevant once, are now highly significant. Respecting the dignity of our loved ones while choosing what’s best for them can be a balancing act that demands constant adjustment to the relationship we had with them before the impairment.

Get what you need and ask for help.

Let your loved one do what is possible.

Take heart.

When a loved one becomes impaired and needs our care and protection, we may be just as emotionally confused by the new terrain as they are, but with a little time to adjust and some outside support, we will find our footing. It may surprise us to learn that we are stronger, more resourceful, and more capable of handling the new responsibilities that we thought possible. As Saint Paul said, love “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.”