Thursday, October 03, 2013

End of Life Arrangements

Today, I was in a discussion with some Orthodox women and we were talking about parenting and two income households and women working outside of the home and caring for aging parents. It was interesting to see just how many different opinions there were and the ways that people justify their particular decision.

In my culture, it is a big taboo to put your elders in a facility. My paternal grandparents are still alive. My maternal grandfather died at home. My maternal grandmother insisted on going to a nursing home when she got really sick.

I can understand why she may have wanted that, but it was hard on my mom, because prior to that my grandmother had lived with us. My mom felt like it was an admission of defeat to have her mother in a nursing home. There are so many difficult decisions to make. My mom was a working single parent taking care of four kids. Maybe my grandmother felt like it would be too much for my mom. My mom felt like one of her more affluent siblings (who were all married stay at home mothers) should have made my grandmother move in with them. I feel like I wish I'd have had more time with her and I'd been old enough to realize how great it was to have a grandmother in the house with us, before she move to the nursing home. Maybe my grandmother wanted a little peace and quiet after living in a house with her daughter and grandkids for years.

I didn't want to die at home because I've always felt like home is a place you should always want to come back to. Dying there might have made my family associate being home with feeling anguish or distress. My family was adamant, though. I don't know what would have happened if I had gotten worse. Maybe I'd have convinced them to let me find hospice care outside of the home. Maybe I'd have changed my mind. Maybe they would have been unable to care for me at the end and decided that hospice was the best choice.

I try not to ever judge people about the decisions they make regarding the care of family members. We all make the best decisions we can.