“We are free to choose our actions, but we are not free to choose the consequences of our actions” ~Steven Covey
It’s been a long time since I’ve really written anything personal, so I begin this post with a bit of trepidation. As many of you know, I cared for my father in my home for four years and then when he passed, went through the after-caregiving grief, guilt, questioning and all that goes with that. It’s now been 4 years to the month of his passing and while I still think of him daily, I’ve gotten used to living my own life again.
In the next couple of weeks, I’m going up to visit my Mom who will be turning 90. I’ve not seen her this year but I’ve heard that her mobility is decreasing and so is her hearing. Because she lives by herself in an apartment that is not “senior-friendly” and because she refuses to use any sort of Personal Emergency Response System, this is a big problem.
About 2 months ago, I casually mentioned that perhaps she could come live with me. She seemed enthusiastic but during our next call, she hem-hawed as usual, so I interpret that as a NO. Then I hear from my cousin that she is considering the move. Fast forward to earlier this week: my sister, who lives just 30 miles from her, gives me an update that my mom has said nothing to her about a move and is planning to visit California in February.
Another fast forward to last night and everything has changed again. Mom would like to come live with me but not until after a relative’s wedding next July… and not until this… and not until that. Or maybe she will go to California for a few months, then back up north and THEN move in with me. I’m already exhausted and she hasn’t yet arrived. Someone jokingly said to me “well, you’ll certainly have more writing content”. Yep… that’s for certain.
You might wonder why she wouldn’t be moving in with my sister who lives so close. Well, she has a husband; I don’t. Her home also only has one bathroom and probably the biggest reason (my sister thinks) – she is not a gardener and Mom likes to see flowers. The other sister? I will simply say…. no… not an option.
At my mother’s age of 90, may things could change in a year. Her mobility could continue to decline. I especially worry about falls. If she falls, and has an extended hospital stay, I don’t believe that I’ll be in a position to be able to care for her. Hospital stays can age a senior very quickly and while my mom’s mental capacities are great at this point, a hospital stay could change that too.
So it looks like my visit to celebrate my mom’s birthday is going to turn into a serious discussion with talking points and items that I’m willing to accept and items that I won’t accept, the first one being that she must make a decision before an accidental decision is made FOR HER. I refuse to let this become a crisis situation.
Have you run across this with your aging loved ones? How have you handled it? I’d love to know.
You’re most welcome to use this article on your website, blog or in your e-zine if you include this entire blurb, without modification: If you liked this article by Shelley Webb, R.N., GCM, you’ll want to hop on over to www.IntentionalCaregiver.com where you can find more articles, resources, services and strategies to support caregivers of aging parents and loved ones.
*photo credit: Shelley Webb
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