You can’t teach an old dog new tricks and convincing the elderly to give up their independence can be a challenge.
Imagine being an 86 year old widow or widower who’s been alone and independent for 31 years. Your health is good, you walk everywhere, cook for yourself and live alone. Then you fall. A downward spiral begins. Nothing heals the same and energy is low. Depression sets in and you see you world disintegrating. Making your meals is a challenge and you need help. Grocery shopping is near impossible and you need help.
Next, the letter C enters your life. Your doctor tells you that your old body can’t handle the treatment. You know that’s true and you also know that at 88, you don’t want to bother anyway.
What just happened over the last two years? So quickly!
It’s a scenario that happens in many households on a daily basis. A decision needs to be made but not by you. It has to be made by your family because you’re stubborn and connected to your old life.
The process begins. A hospital stay while you are assessed. How much help do you need. Physical therapy, mental therapy, help in and out of bed, meals to be cooked and the list goes on. Imagine strangers probing your life while you are mourning it’s passing by so quickly. Decisions are made for you and not by you. You’re frightened of what comes next.
Imagine being that family. Standing by helplessly as old age progresses. As health deteriorates and you know an end is coming. Imagine knowing what needs to be done and the hurt and confusion you see in your loved ones eyes.
It’s not easy for either of you but you both know it’s right. The time has come for professional help and a “home” is required.
Right now, I’m that family.
Right now, my mom struggles in that plateau between life and death. Right now, I struggle with the knowledge that I’ve done the right thing and the knowledge that eventually, life comes to an end.
If you didn’t catch my last post, please do. It’s important to understand, to “see”. It’s important to respect the dignity of those who wait.