Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?—I CORINTHIANS 3:16 (NIV)
My father fretted over placing his mother in a nursing home. She had lived with us for seven years, but over time her dementia became so severe that it got to be a safety risk. After months of evaluating the pros and cons, lots of prayer and more fretting, my parents moved my grandma into a skilled nursing facility. In the end, my father knew in his heart it was the right thing to do, but that did not mean he didn’t feel guilt and disappointment over not being able to continue providing for her in our home.
As it turned out, she and her new roommate got on famously, stealing clothing from each other and spending their afternoons telling stories that made little sense to those listening.
I was a teenager at this time, and I didn’t appreciate the turmoil my parents felt. Now, as a hospice chaplain, every week I work with families who are struggling with this very decision. On rare occasions, the patients have given permission to their families to place them in a facility, but from my experience, that is mostly not the case, and the decision is placed solely on the families. Fortunately, God dwells in our midst. As my father learned, by trusting God to be with him in his decisions, he could not make a wrong choice.