So what do you when you don’t know how to move Mom forward ‘for her own good?’ I know that my family is not unique in our present situation. My brothers and I have taken all the steps that conscientious, well-informed, adult children are supposed to take. Mom reluctantly agreed to meet with the proper medical professionals, and the meeting went very well.

Now, when we could move forward, we’re once again treading water. Mom is happy where she is. She is healthy, if not active. She is in a clean environment, and its her own home. It is familiar and its safe, mostly…except for the steps that she has to climb. So why would she want to move to assisted living? Or why would she want to have a stranger in to her home to assist her?

“I didn’t ask for help.”

“I’m fine. I’ll manage.”

Its us, her sons who want to give her the help. It is the three of us boys who don’t want her to have to ‘manage’ on her own. We’re understandably concerned about Mom’s health and safety. We would love to have piece of mind that Mom is safe and cared for. But is it our call to make? Where do Mom’s wishes come in? When do we hear from her?

We now have to carefully balance the need to help our aging parents with the need to calm our own fears, or to salve our own consciences for any past issues we may have with them. As long as a senior is safe and is able to remain in his or her own home, they should be allowed to do so.

The competing interests are real, if not completely well-defined. We want our parents to be happy. We also want them to be safe. By insisting on a move out of the family home, we may be creating “safety” without a shred of the happiness they seek. Sometimes the medical needs dictate such a move, which makes the decision easier, if not more pleasant. But these two competing interests remain.

In our case, Tim, Tom and I continue to struggle to offer mom all the help we can, which includes keeping the doors open to outside help. And Mom continues. In the home she loves.