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A Promise that Can’t Break

flower_potMy mom has already said, “My daughter will care for me. I won’t be in a nursing home.”

And, certainly, my goal would be to keep my parents home (in theirs or mine) for the remainder of their lives.

I don’t have a magic ball, though. So, my intent today can’t determine my decisions of tomorrow. Care at home could become too much—because of its intensity, its costs or its requirements. It could become impossible because of my limitations or the house’s unhelpful design or dementia’s difficult behavior. To continue giving care at home when I truly can’t because of a promise I made during my parents’ good health would be unwise and unsafe for all of us.

When we make a promise to a caree like, “I promise you’ll never go to a nursing home,” we make a promise in good faith. We truly want our carees to be at home.

The declines of age, though, are beyond our control. It’s not just about caring for one, it’s about managing multiple chronic conditions, about adjusting an entire household, about stretching the day until it no longer ends, and about incurring too many sacrifices which can become too many missed opportunities.

A promise to not move a caree into a nursing home is merely a promise to provide good care. You’re keeping that promise, no matter where your family member lives–your home, her home or the nursing home. It’s a promise to be there. And, you are.

The Caregiving Years Six, Stages to a Meaningful Journey

About Denise Brown

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I began working with family caregivers in 1990 and launched in 1996 to help and support them. Through my blog, I share words of comfort and offer coping strategies and tips. I also write opinion pieces about recent research, community programs and media coverage of caregiving issues.


  1. Avatar of darciejane

    Amen to that! Thank you, Denise.

  2. Avatar of analamas

    Needed to read this. You’ll read about why, Denise…

    Just too lost today. CanĀ“t make heads or tails.

    Thank you!

  3. Avatar of Pegi

    Beautifully put, Denise. After just going through that with my Mother, after whe was able to keep our Father home til the end; it helped to soothe my soul. Thank you.

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