Mark Twain

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do ...
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Sunday, August 21, 2011

Through My Care Giver Eyes - August 21, 2011

(continued from August 19, 2011)

Discussions were ongoing regarding her future living options. We mapped them out on paper. Talked about the pros and cons. Visits, however, to see any choices were always ... later. And "later" never came.

Finally external forces pushed her to do what I could not. The apartment management changed and her rent jumped $200 a month. Mom lived frugally by choice and by habit, and although she said she could manage the increase, I could tell from the tone of her voice that this increase was going to make things tight. And what would following years bring? More increases? And how would she handle a move 2-3 years from now when she was that much older? No, we both agreed that this year was the year she must move. This was the year!!

But to where?

Because she had delayed action in moving for a few years, changes in her functioning had definitely limited her choices for independent living. Assisted living was a choice but her financial resources were not inexhaustible. Her social security and pension had comfortably sustained her for many years as well as her minimalist style of living, but how much longer could she outrun inflation, a major problem for many senior citizens.

And to my eyes, she now clearly needed assistance in certain aspects of her life.

Again we talked.

She had a new concern: all the details of the move, the cleaning out, the packing, all the address changes, the moving arrangements ... she saw this as a huge deterrent to moving at all, she didn't see how she could manage it ... maybe she should stay put for another year ... and again she began to back away from the decision. I dug in my heels. We couldn't dither about this any more. Years of talking were over. Action was needed. I finally convinced her that I could easily manage all the aspects of her move from her one bedroom apartment.

She had to start to trust me. This year really was the right year to move.

And this time I offered the option of living with family ... living with me. She didn't jump at it at first. It was a decision, after all, and she had problems making decisions. But in the end, she took the offer.

I began the process of moving her for what I hoped was the last time.

Did I recognize the giant step forward I was taking into the care giving role? No. Not really.

I sincerely felt I was offering her a reasonable option for a viable living arrangement. I assured her, promised her, that nothing would change, but the roof over her head. She could still do her own things, attend activities, visit with friends, maintain her own independence. My husband and I would still live our lives doing similar things. We would share a house ... that was all!

The only valid criticism that I accept of my actions during this time was naivety. I was naive!

Terribly naive.

The year was 2006.

Retire Knitter
Daughter and Care Giver
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1 comment:

  1. Hi Elaine .. you have definitely done the right thing for your mother - we never know the length of time.

    I was going to add in we don't understand, until we actually do the caring role as you now do.

    Each aspect of getting older is different for each person - we can't even say stroked, dementia, heart attack .. they all work out differently .. and then the 'carer' has to adjust too.

    I'm lucky my mother is looked after in a home .. but has been able to talk etc .. but the length of time .. and keeping her stimulated through it all ... and is much more difficult now - 4+ years on.

    You've been going longer .. and it's 24 hours .. my thoughts are with you ..

    I love your day planner .. wine at 9.00 am .. sounds good!

    Look after yourself .. Hilary


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