Q: My mother always said she never wanted us to put her in a nursing home, and she made us promise we never would. But now her Alzheimer's is getting much worse, and it's going to be impossible for us to take care of her. Will God hold us to our promise? -- Mrs. M.R.
A: You love your mother, and the reason you promised never to put her in a nursing home was because you loved her, and you wanted what was best for her. I commend you for your willingness to care for her as she's gradually lost the ability to take care of herself.
But now her situation is changing, and the question you need to face is this: what is going to be best for her in the future? Only you (and her doctor) can answer this, of course, in light of both her needs and your own situation. Alzheimer's is a cruel disease, and I suspect many reading this are facing the same questions you are, as they sacrificially take care of a loved one with a mental or physical disability. Remember Jesus' words (often called "the Golden Rule"): "So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you" (Matthew 7:12).
Ask God, therefore, to guide you and help you do what's best for your mother. Many nursing homes today have excellent facilities, including modern memory care units. If this is best for her, don't feel bound by your pledge; you'll be doing what you promised: providing the best care for her.
Pray too for your mother. Even as her memory fades, she still can sense your love, and God's love as well. Take comfort in God's assurance: "Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained in the way of righteousness" (Proverbs 16:31).
(Send your queries to "My Answer," c/o Billy Graham, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201; call 1-(877) 2-GRAHAM, or visit the Web site for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association: www.billygraham.org.)
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