Friday, May 13, 2011


I got a call the other day from a state worker who had just been visiting the Adult Family Home where my Dad lives. He apparently visits the house regularly to make sure that I’s are dotted and t’s are crossed in all the charts and paperwork that need to be filled out and managed. Every single thing that residents do has to be recorded and set down in a chart, including the care plans that the state mandates are updated every quarter.
The inspector had several questions for me about how I found the care to be at the house, whether I thought Dad was being taken care of properly, and whether I thought the owners were doing a good job. I told him that from everything I had seen, the house seemed like a very competent, comfortable place that was taking good care of my Dad. He seemed satisfied. After I hung up, however, I had an attack of the apprehension that I feel on a regular basis.

There was no way I could care for Dad on my own, my chronic condition alone makes it impossible. So I had to relegate his care to someone else, a facility that seemed clean and well-managed to me, and caregivers that seemed caring and competent. But it doesn’t stop me from feeling fear. How do I really know?

I don’t live with these people, I don’t see Dad on a daily basis, and I have no closed-circuit cameras making sure that everything is going fine. They have those for parents now to check in on their kids-I wonder whether its only a matter of time that we have them for our elderly! And I hear so many horror stories. People who know I have a parent in care seem to delight in telling me the latest terrible news about a facility doing terrible things to its residents. I have to trust in others and hope that a state inspector will catch any problem. That sometimes seems like a thin basis on which to establish trust, but I had to trust someone. And I’m grateful that the state sends out inspectors who actually do their jobs.

To all those people who wonder if they did the right thing by putting their parent or loved one in dare, I’m with you-I feel your fear and apprehension. Try to forget the horror stories and rely on your instincts in picking a place. Chances are very good that you’ll find a place where the people will love and care for your loved one but it’s still a hard thing to trust in.

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