God tells us to care for our parents in their old age, just as they cared for us when we were young. When a parent becomes feeble and unable to live alone in their home, what options are acceptable to God? Are we required to leave our home to live with the parent and provide 24/7 care? Are we required to move the parent into our own home in order to provide 24/7 care? Is admitting the parent to a nursing care facility a violation of God's directive to care for our parents?
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When we follow the Scriptural direction to care for our parents in their old age, we have to weigh what will provide them the best care possible. If there are health care concerns that cannot be addressed with them either living in your home or you with them, then professional care should be sought. In my own family we had to deal with Alzhiemer's and dementia with both of my widowed grand mothers. In a practical sense it is very difficult on family members to be primary caretakers for elderly with these issues. Secondly, it becomes a quality of life issue for all involved. Third are the safety concerns if an older person with diminished cognitive ability wanders. On the other hand, if one is putting an older family member into a home or nursing facility to get them out of the way, that is a different story. In other countries, the grand parents and parents often lives with adult children and their families. Children born into such homes have the benefit of generational influence. To put it into a Biblical perspective, when Abram was told to leave Ur, his great grand father Shem was still living. Now it is not only possible but very likely that Abram had heard the stories of the flood first hand, so that when the LORD told him to leave and go into another place, he obeyed without hesitation. In short, what will provide your elderly parent with the best care and quality of life? Is keeping them at home in their best interest? These are the questions that need to be answered.
I would say any option is a possibility so long as the motives are right. The best option of course is to get some Long Term Care Insurance, but that's another discussion altogether! We should take care of our family, especially our parents who took care of us. For some families that means letting them come live with them. For other families with smaller homes, or difficult relationships, then living with them is probably not the wisest of choices. The guiding principle should be one of desiring to love and take care of our family. The how in which that is accomplished will look different for every family.
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