Saturday, January 27, 2007

Getting Old Sucks...

I've been thinking about old age a lot lately.

My dear friend Lori is struggling with the emotions and the difficulties of getting her Mom into an Assisted Living facility. Her mom is still strong and able bodied. It's her mind that's losing strength. She's suffering from that horrible disease known as Alzheimer's.

Lori has spent the last couple of years (at least), fielding calls from her mom roughly every 10 minutes throughout nearly every given day. Her mother gets a thought in her head and she simply can not go through the process of working through that thought without the aid of her daughter. Lori has two other siblings who live 'far away', so this makes Lori the sole source of comfort for her mother.

Within the last month or so, it all finally became too much for Lori and her family. My friend has received 'Guardianship' of her mother by means of running all over the place to acquire advice, paperwork and signatures. It's been not only a physically draining process but an emotional one too.

All of this work has come down to today. Today is the day that Lori will be moving her mom into an Assisted Living facility roughly 30 miles away. She took her mother to the there yesterday for lunch and to receive an evaluation from the staff. She explained to her mother that this is where she will be living. Her mother adamently exclaimed, "NO! I am not moving!" Lori has no other choice but to get her mother out of the townhouse she currently lives in by asking her to watch her kids for the day. Then Lori and her husband are swooping in to move all of her belongings to the new place. Lori intends to have her new room set up with all of her furniture and personal items so tonight her mother will feel at home. It can only be imagined how heart-wrenching this entire process is for my friend and how frightening it's going to be for her mother. Lori doesn't want to do anything to upset her mother... But she knows full well that the neighbors who currently reside near her mom can not be expected to put up with the phone calls they receive at 2:00am... It has also become necessary to move her for her own safety. She's stopped eating properly. She's stopped bathing and grooming herself. Lori can't even be sure she's taking the medication she needs. It's time for her to be in a place that can monitor her more closely.

I remember quite clearly the call I received from my dad several years ago, on the night he admitted my grandmother into a rest home. My grandmother was also in the advanced stages of 'Alzheimer's' and though my dad had been caring for her all alone, in his trailer, it got to a point when he couldn't safely leave her and go off to work. However, my dad had promised his father he would never put Grandma in a home. He promised he would always care for her. Some promises just can't be kept. My dad wept that he was betraying his dad's dying wish but he didn't know what else to do. He felt he was letting my grandmother down... That she would hate him for the decision he had no other choice but make. I consoled my dad over that long distance phone line as best I could... But what can one say other than, "You did what was best." And that's what my friend Lori is doing today. I hope our hugs and support can help get her through this.



Blogger Limey said...

my family has a history of alzheimers. it is an insidious and horrible disease and your friedn did not betray his grandad's dying wish. he made sure his grandma was well cared for in a way he himself could not provide. i'm so sorry for your friends. it is a horrible thing to watch.

5:44 PM, January 27, 2007  

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