Hope There's Someone

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by basketbulge, Jun 3, 2007.

  1. basketbulge

    basketbulge Member

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    I've spent the past few days moving my parents into a retirement care facility in their hometown. They both have a lengthy list of health issues and handfuls of daily medication which have escalated to the point where they can no longer take care of themselves or maintain their own home. I know it's often a natural cycle of family life, but becoming my parent's caretaker these past few years is a role reversal I never felt ready for. Never mind all that I'm feeling, when the time comes it must be incredibly difficult to relinquish control of your own life the way they have. After 60 years of building a life together, last weekend they had to surrender to the majority of their possessions being sold for peanuts or given away to charities. How fucking numbing must this be? As they cope and adjust to this phase of their lives, I'm so grateful my Mom and Dad still have each other.

    On the second day in their new home, my sister had to shuttle my Father an hour and a half away for his first dose of aggressive chemotherapy. While they were away, I had the opportunity to experience 3 meals with my Mom in her new 'dining room'. I was emotionally struck by all the kindness exchanged between the residents and staff of the retirement home. But what really moved me was seeing a few people who were sitting all by themselves. Of course it's possible they chose to be alone, but in the absence of knowledge I couldn't help but wonder if the 'lonely' sometimes have to play out their final days the same as they lived their lives – all alone.

    Does anyone else fear growing older without someone by your side?

    I know I'm combining Naughty's wonderful threads here, but this past week made me think of a lyric that hits the spot, and a voice that makes me melt...

    Hope There's Someone by Antony and the Johnsons

    Hope there's someone
    Who'll take care of me
    When I die, will I go

    Hope there's someone
    Who'll set my heart free
    Nice to hold when I'm tired...
     
  2. naughty

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    Workin' up a good pot of mad!
    Not a problem at all, sweetie. I was wondering where you went! It is a difficult situation. There are many of us here on the board who are caretakers for our elders for that reason among others. The issue of elders growing old alone is an ever growing one. In spite of assisted living isolation can occur. Also the thought does come to me sometimes will anyone be there for me when I get to the point I can no longer take care of myself.


     
  3. B_Think_Kink

    B_Think_Kink New Member

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    To be honest I don't fear being alone, life so far (19 years) has led me to be alone most of the time anyways.

    I do volunteer with a long term care facility, and it is heart breaking to see people by themselves, no family at chirstmas, easter, or birthdays. I'm saddened to know that people dump their parents there because they become to much of a hassle.

    Even though my grandmother had advanced Alzheimers, my dad or his brother were at the home every day to feed her.

    I fear more my parents not being together till the end I guess cause they have been together since they were 18, and 20.
     
  4. witch

    witch Member

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    Might I suggest if you have the time, ask the staff if those who are sitting alone have family to visit them and if not and the staff says it would be ok.....go over introduce yourself and spend some time chatting.

    I know if I was living in a care facility I would love for someone to come over and talk.
     
  5. basketbulge

    basketbulge Member

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    Thanks baby. Maybe we can have a pact to take care of each other if we're still single at 70! :wink:

    That is very admirable volunteer work TK. Since I live in Toronto (2 hours away), it will be difficult for me to visit as much as I'd like. Thankfully my sister lives very close by.

    When I was 19 I didn't fear being alone either. I hope you feel the same way when you are ancient like me! :redface: Maybe you'll still have lots of pets around to keep you company! :smile:

    I completely agree. I did make a point to say hello to many of the residents, and to introduce my parents. Since we were the n00bs, just as many approached us.
     
  6. SassySpy

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    This thread touched my heart in so many ways. I had one set of great grandparents married for 60 years and died within weeks of each other, and another set of grandparents married 65 years. I never saw anything but loving kindness between them, they had rock solid love. Its so seldom seen like that anymore.
    I will never have what they had, and it does kinda scare me, cos at this point I've no idea what mental and physical capacities I'll have at that age. And I have no one at all to count on to look after me such as children or grandchildren ever.
    I sometimes wish I had someone to talk to about it, seems the times I've tried with past boyfriends they were just too uncomfortable discussing aging and death.
    I worked in a nursing home years ago, and I wrote this:

    Just a minute, honey
    thats what you say
    when I ask if you'll stop
    and chat with me today
    I know that you're busy
    you have your job to do
    but this is my home,
    but its lonely here too
    You see I have time
    while I sit here alone
    to think of days past
    and the place I called home
    so stop if you can
    if you can spare some time
    it would ease my sad memories
    and this lonely heart of mine.
     
  7. IntoxicatingToxin

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    Sorry to hear you're having to go through this! I don't really fear growing old without someone by my side. I have so many friends, and my son, that I don't think I'd ever be truly alone. And if I'm anything like my grandmother, I'll have so many friends at the retirement home, that it won't matter! I think she knew everyone there by name. :smile:
     
  8. B_Think_Kink

    B_Think_Kink New Member

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    Please let me share this with the staff where I work.
     
  9. B_Think_Kink

    B_Think_Kink New Member

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    I imagine I will... I've had pets since I was 14, so I see no point in stopping. As long as there is animal shelters, there will be animals that need loving homes. A home I can provide.
     
  10. SassySpy

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    Of course, lovey! we printed it in the home newsletter. It started cos of this dear old lady named minnie who you used to call out every time Id rush by her door, off to change another patient or help someone out- she'd cry "dearie? dearie? can you come visit?" I always felt so awful that I couldnt - and she had no one. so I wrote it in her honour. I did start making time after my shift to spend a few minutes with her, bless her heart.
     
  11. MH07

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    We are shopping "assisted living centers" right now for Mother and Dad. They've been together 63 years. She had a stroke 3 years ago and it is wearing him out caring for her--and he won't let anybody else do it.

    I've been living next door to them for 13 years, keeping things going (yard mowed, trash taken out, making sure everything's ok), but I'm in process of selling out and moving elsewhere for work. They've got to come too.

    Mother cries when I even talk to her about the most discardable of her possessions ("Mom, you bought that coat in 1968. It's a nice coat still, but it's a size 6. You are now a size 16. Additionally, we live in the south = too warm for that coat. Let's give it to somebody who will wear it (if such a person exists, he mutters under his breath)". "NOOOO, it's MINE, you're just trying to move me into the grave, boohoohoo...."

    Roaches in the guest bedroom and Dad won't have the exterminator and won't let me ("I don't see any!" "Dad. They're there. I've seen 'em. They've got to go." "It's too expensive to call the exterminator." (He's got plenty of cash...). "Well, let me pay for it." "No, you need to save your money."

    Today, they went to lunch together (tottering out to the trusty Grand Marquis). I went out to see if the flowerbeds needed watering---Dad had left the front door wide open. Aside from the obvious invitation to thieves, he's air conditioning the neighborhood. I called him on it and he said, "Well, sometimes I forget."

    Sigh. He was an Aerospace Engineer, cold warrior, Colonel USAF; she worked for the phone company. He always had a hot sports car and she always had the biggest badass Oldsmobile available. I remember when she got that coat; she bought it at Neiman-Marcus in Dallas and was very, very proud of it.

    This is by far the hardest thing I've ever done in my life, harder than the breakup (in October) with my lover of 5 years (and that was hell on earth); harder than the loss of my grandparents; it's just plain old hard.

    Meanwhile, my sister and her husband (in their heterosexal all-knowingness and magnificence, not to mention remoteness from the scene) have instructed me ("requested") to sell Mother and Dad's things so as to finance their trip to assisted living. Well, gee, bitch, if it's so fucking easy, why don't you bring your fabulous ass up here and help me listen to Mother's wails and Dad's protests?

    I feel your pain.

    As for the "alone" part, I have 3 or 4 wonderful friends, loving neices and nephews, my sister (Madame Superior) and 5 gay cousins. If we don't kill each other first, I'll never be "without". Now, about finding that replacement husband....
     
  12. fortiesfun

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    Hey, BB, just a note of sympathy and support. I know that this is a difficult transition point for our parents and many of us are facing helping them deal with it. Hang in there!

    You, too, MH07! Glad you are here and have a place to vent!
     
  13. B_Think_Kink

    B_Think_Kink New Member

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    I read this last night, and was out of things to say. A heartfelt thank you for what you have done for your parents. You've done the best that you can possibly do for them, instead of giving up right away and letting someone else watch them as they age. There will be some hard times, and it will cause stress, but you can make it through this.
    Thanks again, and we are here for you if you need to vent, or need support.
     
  14. basketbulge

    basketbulge Member

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    That's a wonderful poem SS, thanks for sharing. The residents in that nursing home were lucky to have you! :smile:

    I am not at all surprised to hear you are surrounded by lots of people who love you Meg!!! That retirement home will light up when you arrive! :smile:

    Thanks Doc, I appreciate your kind support. :hug:

    Thanks MH07. I feel your pain too. My Dad was in the Canadian Armed Forces all his life, and he's always had a military approach to life. Over the past few years I've watched him battle back from a quintuple bypass, a stroke and Hodgkin's lymphoma. He is currently living with a large inoperable aneurysm and a tear in his aorta as he undergoes more aggressive chemo for the lymphoma. All this while my Mom has lost most of her hearing and Alzeimer's has progressed to the point where it is no longer safe for her to be maintaining a home, let alone take care of my Dad. As difficult as this decision has been, my parents safety and access to 24 hour care is the most important thing.

    I hope your move goes smoothly, and you are able to resolve the transition for your folks. They are fortunate to have you. And good luck with your replacement husband quest too!! :wink:
     
  15. Matthew

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    A lot of stuff to think about here, BB. In the US, at least, there is a culture of just dropping parents in a home so that you don't have to deal with their care directly. A lot of the immigrant families I know are horrified by that. And yet, if I am totally honest, it's hard for me to imagine myself caring for my parents in my home. But, that's what it may come down to, of course. I've actually had a job as an advocate for people (including family members) who provide home health care. It's an extremely trying and often thankless, job.

    I wish you all the strength and heart you need to keep it up. And keep letting us know how we can support you.
     
  16. canuck_pa

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    I completely understand what your saying. Its a very difficult time when you realize that the roles have reversed with parents. My father died 19 years ago. Up until then my parents were completely devoted to each other. Suddenly my mother was on her own. Thankfully she was a very independent person and very active.

    Now at 85 she's just as independent but I can see her becoming frailer and frailer. She still lives in the home my parents built for their retirement. She is still a successful watercolour artist and has a better social life than all 4 of her kids put together. Her grandchildren adore her and send a lot of time with her.

    Us kids are very fortunate as her neigbours love her dearly and keep their eye on her for us and let me know if there's a problem. I spend at least one day a week with her and do all her gardening and other fixes that she can no longer do. I also have power-of-attorny so was she to become incapacitated I can keep things in order.

    She and I have talked about her moving into assisted care when the time comes but right now she's in the best place surrounded by people who love her. That dreaded day will come one day soon. But now I know what she wants.

    Many of us baby boomers are in the same situation. I urge everyone to spend as much time with your parents or grandparents as you can. Ask them about their childhood, what their dreams and aspirations were, how they feel now and what they want in the future. And as difficult as it seems, ask them what they would like when death comes. But please remember whatever your parents decide, you have to help them live the life they choose.

    Like many people my mother's age they would never question what their doctor tells them. Get your parents permission to talk to their doctor and ask the questions they don't ask. If a parent has to be admitted to the hospital, become their advocate to make sure they get the care they need.

    Its tough some times but the way I deal with it is to get involved and find out all the options.


    In the meantime my thoughts are with you.
     
  17. viking1

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    My Dad passed away in 2006. My Mom is now in a nursing facility with Alzheimer's and severe arthritis. She also fell and broke a hip last December.
    Her mind is getting really bad now. All of this has taken a toll on me.
    My bad back has only added to misery.

    I do greatly fear getting older. Even more so getting older alone. Not much I can do about it, though.
     
  18. SassySpy

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    well I am looking for an old age pact buddy. :rolleyes: so if you still need one too at 70, we can get together, or sooner if you like..:wink:
     
  19. whatireallywant

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    I worry about this too. Growing old alone, specifically because I have never wanted kids (and have had a tubal ligation), and thinking I will probably never marry (I'm 44 and never been married - but would eventually like to be).

    I also worry about my parents. I'm an only child so it would automatically go to me to take care of them if and when they can no longer take care of themselves. They already have multiple health issues but they even had multiple health issues when they were young. They (at least my mom) would rather die than live in a nursing home. And I cannot move back in with them because of where they live. I have to somehow make a living, and they live out in the middle of nowhere - very rural area. Besides the work issue, I have other issues with where they live. I grew up there and was very unhappy - not because of my parents, but because of the other people in the area.
     
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