We’ve seen a decline in mom’s memory and her abilities for the past two and a half years. We used to be concerned that she was at home alone and could fall and be hurt, or worse. When she was in assisted living at the Nursing facility, she was a part of what the staff called their “frequent faller” program. She rarely did more than slide down onto her bottom, but it happened enough that her falls were charted. So giving her a ‘safe’ place to live didn’t stop the falling; it simply put her into a location where there was always someone nearby.

Mom liked being in her own house, but it was risky. She seemed to retain more of her dignity there. She knew the washing machine was old, but with a rubber band and a pair of pliers, she was able to get it to work just fine. It was familiar and it was hers. She could have afforded a new washer, but she didn’t want a new one. She liked the old one she had.

I owe a debt of gratitude to a friend who has since passed away. She taught me about something called the “Dignity of Risk.” She advocated safety for our seniors, certainly. But she also advocated that each senior should have the ability to make choices for themselves, even if those choices were not necessarily the safest. The choice was what made the difference. Not making the ‘right’ choice, or the ‘safest’ choice, but by giving a senior the choice, the dignity of taking a risk, if that’s what they wish to do.

So mom is safe. Was this what was best? I can’t answer that question.