“Promise you’ll never put me in a nursing home”

This is a good article about the promise many families are asked to make: “Promise you’ll never put me in a nursing home.”    See http://washingtonpost.com/local/social-issues/promise-youll-never-put-me-in-a-nursing-home/2016/02/08/1ce8737c-cb62-11e5-a7b2-5a2f824b02c9_story.html

Here are some excerpts:

* To Bill Thomas, a geriatrician who is working to change American attitudes about old age, the promise is a red herring. “It’s actually the only thing we know how to do because we don’t have the actual language to say what we’re really asking: ‘Promise me you’ll protect my dignity, promise you’ll protect my privacy, promise to make sure I don’t live in pain.’

* Caregiving can take a severe financial toll, and studies have shown higher rates of depression, physical illnesses and mortality among family caregivers. And yet the impulse to keep a loved one at home is powerful.

* “It’s always best to not make promises you can’t keep or qualify,” [Gary Small, director of the Division of Geriatric Psychology at UCLA’s School of Medicine] said. “You could say, ‘Look, mom, I know you want to stay in your home, and we’re going to do whatever we can to keep you there, but . . . there could be things that you don’t anticipate.'”

* Talking it through early while everyone is still healthy can help. So can doctors or support groups, which can affirm when a move to a facility would be in everyone’s best interest.

* “The only thing he asked me to promise him was to not put him in a facility and walk away from him, and I have not done that,” she said.