Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Frustrations of "Old Age"

Just recently my father spend a few days in the hospital. He had a TIA or mini stroke. Unfortunately my mother and him did not tell Bill or I that he was not feeling well until it was too late for the DR to really help him So when we took him to the ER they could only do tests and put him in the hospital for observation. At least while in the hospital he was safe from himself. We can see the left side of his face droops a little and at times he still can't talk clearly enough for most to understand what he is saying. The worst is the drooling and his teeth falling out while he is trying to talk.

Almost as soon as he arrived home he was on his golf cart (electric and quiet) to survey his garden. (Now I need to tell you that "His" garden would not be growing at all if Bill and I had not tilled, fertilized, planted, cared for and harvested that lovely plot of land.) Surveying the garden from the cart would have been OK, but he got off to harvest some of the vegetables. When he decided to do this yesterday he fell twice in the bean patch. No one was there to help him get up, but he did manage to get to the cart. Most would know to come home, but no he went to see if Bill was catching any fish and see what else was going on in the neighborhood. When he arrived home his blood glucose was low (I think)(he is diabetic) and he could not get to his part of the house without help. Fortunately I was in our living room and was available to help him. At dinner several hours later, he admitted that he has not fully recovered from his "adventure".

Bill and I are doing our best to not take away any of Dad's feedoms, but it is getting to be more and more frustrating. (Dad did decide to not drive a car except to go to the local store that is very close. He only drives there when he needs the gas can filled, which isn't too often.) We talk with him one day about out concerns for his safety and we think he will at least use some common sense. Then he leaves home, forgetting to take his medicine, tries to pick beans, falls twice and goes to other parts of the neighborhood while his blood glucose is going down. It is getting very close for the roles to be totally reversed and I will become the parent of my elderly parents. At least Mom stays home and for the most part stays out of trouble. She is very forgetful and has trouble getting around, but we know where she is and for the most part what she is doing.

My advice to everyone is to think before you do something. Every action has a reaction. Some reactions are difficult when you are the one who has to make the decision to limit what actions someone else may take as they age. This is all so FRUSTRATING!

I have seen my friends and some relatives deal with one aging parent. Some parents live with the child only to be moved to another facility like a retirement home or assisted living. This usually happens when one or the other is unhappy. Others keep the parent in their home and have help come into the home. So far Bill and I are dealing with my parents by our self. I was working, but that has ended. We do get away once in a while, but this is rare now and for short periods of time.

Now I must get some sleep as another day will be starting soon.


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