Consider this scenario from Money Magazine's nationwide survey of hundreds of adults:
Imagine that 10 years ago your elderly mother gave you a very generous amount of money, enough to enable you to buy a house. In return you promised that you would do whatever might be necessary to make sure that she remained in her own home for the rest of her life. But now your mother is getting frail, and keeping her in her home has become difficult and time consuming for you, not to mention costly for her. You want to move your mother into an assisted-living facility, but she wants to stay where she is. Under these circumstances, would it be wrong for you to insist that she move?
Here's how the survey participants answered:
Definitely wrong: 34%
Probably wrong: 39%
Definitely not wrong: 5%
Probably not wrong: 22%
Our answer: Did our promise maker think that Mom would never grow older? Reneging on a promise because it has become difficult to keep is definitely unethical - especially when the person to whom it was made has unequivocally honored her end of the bargain. If this son or daughter wants to have a clear conscience, he or she is going to have to keep Mom in her own home until either she says she’s ready to leave or her doctor says she must.