Maybe I Should Have...


Maybe I Should Have...

hiking-296871_640My next-door neighbor, Sophie, calls me regularly to see to how my parents are doing. Sophie also cares for her sister, Phyllis, who is 93.

During one of our phone conversations this summer, I shared that my mom had moved from the hospital to a skilled nursing facility for rehab. Sophie then told me about another skilled nursing facility that she loved and had used when Phyllis needed rehab after a hospital stay a few years ago. That facility, affiliated with our community hospital, has private rooms. "Oh, no," I thought to myself. "I should have moved Mom there! Private rooms!"

On Friday, I saw my niece at the library. I asked her how her other grandparents--her dad's parents--are managing. Her grandmother fell a few weeks ago and her grandfather has cardiac issues. My niece updated me, explaining that her grandmother had moved to a skilled nursing facility for rehab. "Oh, gosh," I couldn't help but think. "I wonder if that would have been a better place for Mom."

I am making myself crazy with all this self-doubt. I'm regularly questioning and revisiting decisions already made which are no longer relevant.

After my phone conversation with Sophie, I reminded myself I selected the nursing home for my mom because the facility also has assisted living which turned into a huge blessing when my dad needed respite care.

After my visit with my niece on Friday, I reminded myself that my mom didn't want to go to that facility--she had eliminated it as an option.

I'm not sure I've ever been so intimidated by decisions as I am by the decisions I make about my parents' care. Today, though, I'm taking my free pass. No self-doubt. I'm doing the best I can with the information I have right now. Most important, I can use the information I gather from these conversations to help in future decisions. I can let go of the overwhelming wish to cover my ears. The past is behind me. And, that's okay. I can be better prepared for the future.

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I know all about the \"Maybe I should have...\". Maybe I should have put dad in a nursing home in NH instead of Massachusetts and mom could have seen him more often. Maybe I should have pushed mom to move to Massachusetts sooner and she could have seen him more often. Maybe, maybe....I have learned to accept that I did the best I could at the time. I chose the options that made the most sense taking into consideration the needs of both mom and dad. Sometimes those needs couldn't be balanced 50-50 by the same decision so I would doubt myself. I think looking back on it four years later, it turned out about as good as it could. So, try to be patient with yourself and not compare yourself and your parent's situation to anyone else. You have good instincts, you are just too close to the situation right now. You are doing great.


Oh Denise, All the \"Maybe I should haves\" can be so haunting. I think it is just human nature, and no matter how irrational theses 2nd guessing our actions, I think we all do it. I have to say over and over to myself, much like you are doing writing it out, that I did best I could at time with what I had. One of these days I'll write about the nightmares I had after my mother-in-law died.


Oh I can so relate to this!! I am typically a decisive person - I do a decent amount of research, get references and opinions from those I trust, focus on the facts, listen to my instinct, conclude & move on - but my new role as my Dad's caregiver has caused me to doubt and second-guess myself many times. The number of decisions, and options available within each decision, is completely overwhelming. And there is rarely a clear-cut answer. \n\nWhile I do see value in understanding what decisions others are making, I am learning to stay focused on what is best for my Dad, and for me. What fits the personal style or needs of a friend's parent (informal vs. a more formal facility, types of activities, what is affordable, location, personalities of the staff, etc.) may not be a good fit for us, and vice versa. Like you, I'm becoming much more at peace with some of the decisions I've made - or maybe I've just become numb? :-)