Old hands


It’s such a shame to see your parent (s) struggling with age and infirmity.  The parent/child role reverses over time, and I now feel I am the parent to my 92 year old mother, who is mentally alert and has all her marbles, but has been steadily deteriorating with regards to mobility.  In fact I have been her parent/carer for many years now, but find I cannot get her in and out of the car these days without help from my husband.  She is now not able to go out unless he is about.  Over the past 10 years or so her balance has been compromised  and she often falls over and phones me whilst lying on the floor waiting for the paramedics.  She stopped being able to get up again from her many falls about two years ago, and I cannot lift her without Sam’s help.  Currently her quality of life is terrible, but somehow she still manages to keep the wicked sense of humour that she passed down to me.

After at least five years of me gently suggesting that she may need extra help, she has at last agreed  to move to a very sheltered housing complex about a ten minute drive from my house.  I cannot tell you the relief this gives me to know that carers will always be on hand if she needs them.  She will not have to give up her independence because she will still be in her own flat, but so much more help is on hand if she requires it.  There are also hairdressers on site, somebody to do her washing and shopping, activities and trips out, and a dining room if she doesn’t want to cook.

I don’t know if I’ll ever get to 92, or how mobile I’ll be, but a complex like this must be the way forward for somebody who is struggling so much to do now even the simplest tasks like fastening buttons and keeping herself clean.  Her quality of life will be so much better.

This has taught me that in years to come my sons might make the same suggestions to me, and that I must accept I am old and cannot do what I used to do.  No way would I want them or my daughters-in-law to do the personal care that I have been giving to my mother, and so it is up to me to accept age and its frailties and move to either very sheltered or residential accommodation as soon as it is needed to give them peace of mind and me a shred of dignity.

Bette Davis was correct when she said that old age wasn’t for cissies, so I think I’d better make the most of my mobility while I’ve got it!