Understanding Dad’s Plan


June 1, 2022

Understanding Dad’s Plan: More Observing Than conversation

My Dad and I were very much alike. We both liked simplicity, cars and travel, comfortable and well-maintained homes, kept personal matters organized and didn’t want family and friends to worry about our health or end-of-life issues. When it came to discussing end-of-life issues, we differed in style. I had to discover what my dad’s end-of-life plan was while I have a detailed written plan which I hope my loved ones will follow.

My clue about Dad’s plan was not a discussion, but the manner in which he dealt with my mother’s dementia, which crippled her for a number of years. He insisted on taking care of her at home, surrounded by caregivers. Although he was in his mid-to-late nineties when my mother’s dementia struck her, he never once suggested that her plight was too much for him to bear or that it may be time for her to be moved to a memory care facility. He insisted she remain in her home so he could be sure she was comfortable at all times.

After my mother’s death, I urged my dad to move to the town in which I lived without success. He wanted to remain in his home, located in the town in which he lived for 64 years. 

When my dad became very ill suddenly after turning 98 years old, I instinctively knew that he wanted to remain at home with caregivers and not live out his remaining days in a senior living facility. My family and I did everything we could to ensure he could remain at home and as comfortable as possible. Nothing was ever discussed—we just knew what he wanted because of the way he cared for our mother during her illness.

So, while it may have been better for all concerned to raise the end-of-life issue with Dad or for him to raise it with us, sometimes you just know what a loved one wants by observing how he or she deals with another loved one’s end-of-life journey.

Reprinted with permission from Conversation Ready NTX

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