Wit and Wisdom Blog for Atria Senior Living

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a new view on growing older

WWMD: What Would Mama Do?


Posted on November 20, 2014 by Jamie Floyd


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As a social worker in a previous career, I counseled families through the decisions involved with caring for aging parents. The best outcomes usually happened when the children of an aging parent used a philosophical approach called “substituted judgment.”

So, what is substituted judgment? Allow me to illustrate. At some time in life, you’ve probably asked yourself, “What would Mom do in this situation?” or “What would Dad do if given this same choice?”

That’s what we call substituted judgment.

While weighing decisions related to care, substituted judgment can be very helpful. If you look at it from your mom or dad’s perspective and thoughtfully consider what they would do if presented with a fork in the road, your chances of feeling at peace with the ultimate chosen path are much greater.

Remember, as the caregiver, you need to feel good about what you do for your parent. If you’re not happy, your mom or dad probably won’t be happy either.

So, consider what they would do in your shoes and talk it through with them. You might find you’re closer to an agreement than you think!


Category: Caregiver Support

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