Karen called about her mother who had been living with her and her husband for the past six months. Mom had a fall and could not go immediately back home after the hospitalization. Karen was in town and was trying to accommodate mom’s wish that she be able to live in her own home again. After asking multiple questions, I learned that Jim, Karen’s husband was retired and waited on mom hand and foot for the past six months, cooking meals, washing clothes and cleaning her room. When asked if mom could operate a microwave, Karen could not respond with a resounding yes. Then she disclosed that mom scored poorly on a memory test and was diagnosed with dementia. There were concerns about transportation, medication and so on which finally led me to question their decision to return mom home to live on her own. Sometimes in trying to honor our parent’s decision we need to look at the larger picture of practicality and safety. It became clear in talking with Karen that her mother’s wish to return home would not be in her best interest. Karen and her husband returned home, mom in hand.

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