When life starts fading

in Silver Bloggers26 days ago (edited)

I'd like to talk about something none of us like to think about and many of us fear, but I really don't want this to be seen as a pity party!

Most of us will at one time or another be faced with having someone close who needs caring, or it may be ourselves who's going to need the caring; not a nice thought, but we have to try and plan for that day.

When you think about it, we actually start ageing from the moment of birth!
Sounds kind of crazy and almost morbid, but it is true!

Photo by Rod Long on Unsplash

I believe that we're put on earth to learn lessons and that life does not end here, BUT we need to make the best with what we have while we're here, no matter what cards life deals us!

When Mom Lily was diagnosed with an Acoustic Neuroma which I spoke of when Our Lily of the Valley turned 90, it sounded like a death sentence!
This however only affects her balance and there's the risk of seizures.

As Mom lives with us, hubby installed hand-rails to help her; bought sticks of all kinds, from three legged ones to walkers but she hates them and refused to use them! Our home is not designed for a wheelchair as we have stairs everywhere so that also was not an option.

There were many bumps and falls but no injuries until earlier this year when she fractured her ankle.

Naturally it felt like all hell had broken loose as the menfolk in our home could not help and as I am the only daughter the caring naturally fell on my shoulders; I was on duty 24/7 for the first 3 months as adult diapers this old gal was not using!

We had other options:

  • A Nursing home with frail-care facilities - the good ones are way too costly so that was put to sleep nor would I want my Mom who has always been fiercely independent, to be put in the care of strangers.

  • A live-in carer - we however currently do not have a spare room plus Mom already feels embarrassed that I have to take care of her personal needs, so how is she going to take to a stranger having to do that?

  • A state care facility - a definite NO-NO-NO!!!

None of those were considered, so hubby being the practical thinker, went out and bought aides to help make life a little easier.

A commode was first on the list plus a pressure relief cushion as she was going to be sitting much much more, and we did not want her developing pressure sores.
He ordered a kind of 'nurses bell' so she could call whenever she needs attention; she has the red button to call and I the blue button to turn off the hectic buzzer that will wake the dead!

Nurses bell.jpg

Although her legs are strong again some 7 months later, her balance has now worsened due to the tumour growing plus the weakened ankle not helping, so she needs support wherever she goes.

My family help when I'm busy as she can now help herself to a point but the bedtime bathroom duties fall on my shoulders.

Thankfully Mom trusts our housekeeper Cynthia, but she only comes twice a week; this gives me some relief as I can then get out a little or have a breather from running when the nurses bell goes off!

My little Mom has many bad days and gets really frustrated as she used to be a fitness fanatic who was a regular walker until her balance started playing up.

She however accepts that this is how things are now and tells me not to fret so much, but it unfortunately has had an effect on my health too, although it's getting easier!

I'm sure many of you have faced a similar situation, and I would love to know what you did to manage this problem, as there sadly seems to be no perfect solution to something we all may go through if we get to a ripe old age!

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 26 days ago (edited) 

I'm so sorry to hear about your Mom's condition and the strain that it's putting on you as her main caregiver. It's not an easy situation but be sure to make time for yourself and your own well being. People often focus so much on the person who is ill they forget about the strain this kind of situation puts on the caregiver and they often suffer and/or lose parts of themselves in the process. Our instinct is to just want to help but it's okay to recognize when it's time to stop and take care of ourselves too. If we lose our health then we can't take care of those people we love and who rely on us. Take care my friend.

 26 days ago  

Thank you so much my friend, fortunately the caring has gotten easier, those first 3 months were the worst as lack of sleep caught up with me. I now realize that I need to take care of myself too or else I can't help anyone, started meditation last night and will make sure I do this daily. Best to practice it early morning and at night but I'll get there!
You take care of yourself too Eric and thank you for being such a caring friend, you're a blessing to many I'm sure! Your books have helped many people as well!

You're welcome! Lack of sleep is the absolute worst. It makes it more difficult to deal with everything. I'm glad to hear you're meditating again! Thank you, Lizelle. I'm taking things day by day here as it comes. It brings me comfort to know my writing has helped!

As I mentioned on a previous post, I can truly relate to this. I am not sure whether people who have gone through it realize how challenging it is. I admire your strength in being able to care for your Mom. I am in better physical shape than I was when my mother passed, but I am still considered physically disabled, as much as I don't like that, and it broke my heart because taking care of my Mom was a physical impossibility for me, so she had to go to longterm care. We live in Canada. I can imagine that longterm care could be a lot worse elsewhere, but it was awful. I remember thinking that Mom was a wonderful, caring, loving soul who worked hard all her life and this seemed like a very shabby reward. I still feel very guilty that I could not do more.

Besides everything else, it is so hard to see your loved one suffering. Before the strokes that made longterm care necessary, Mom also was reluctant to use a cane or walker.

I wonder whether they have caregiver support groups where you live. They do in my city. I did not join, but I imagine it might have been a comfort.

Your Mom is very fortunate to have you. I hope you make sure to take time for yourself also. Self care is very important.

 26 days ago (edited) 

Very well said @harlowjourney:

À very shabby reward indeed!

I'm so sorry to hear about your Mom but as you were not able to take care of her, you were actually forced to make that difficult decision and did what was best in your situation!
This is not an easy thing to deal with, so very hard to see our parents who once were physically strong and active, fade away like this.
I believe it was the strain of those first 3 months that affected my health; partly my fault as I was blogging till midnight and then being woken up through the night, so lack of sleep and the worry of what was happening, all caught up with me.
It's much easier now as I do get a good night's sleep as Mom at least uses the commode at night!
When I look back, the loss of my Dad was very sudden, and although a shock for us all, it was the best way to go as he was still active and fit; he would have hated to live like this!
Mom is very brave indeed.
Thank you for your thoughtful feedback, I really appreciate it and fully understand that I need to take care of myself too or else I can't help anyone!
My husband has been a type 1 diabetic since the age of 7 and needs me too, he's really amazing and has kept very well and is a blessing to many!

I know this Probably sounds foolish but, I never thought in terms of my parents getting older. Realistically, I knew it to be true but they were so young, they were so spirited, and they were still so able that took me by surprise when I looked at them one day and realized that, they, in fact, were getting older. The day they diagnosed my dad as having Alzheimer's, I drove the 800 miles to their house to go to the appointment with them, because I just couldn't believe that my dad got sick without me even knowing it. Perhaps because he didn't come down with a cold or break something. It began very invisibly, and nothing and I mean nothing in the world could have ever prepared me for this journey. I will say that I have eight brothers and sisters but for various reasons including not being able to miss work and children that were too young to do without them oh, because I had mine pretty much homeschooling at the time, so I was considered to be the ablest to help. Actually, in hindsight, I preferred it that way because the moments that I captured, those tiny pieces of my dad that I saw, especially in the end will remain with me for the rest of my life. It took years for him to get to a place where he needed real help, although when I really mean is my mom needing the help. But I spent probably close to the ears going back and forth as I watched him deteriorating and then finally to the point where I went to see him and didn't leave for five months. He wouldn't let anybody except for me to take care of him, not even my mom who he claimed he wasn't married. When I think of how he told her he wasn't married to her I laugh now but it wasn't funny at the time. For the time that he got angry and said he was leaving home and he packed a suitcase went out the door walking someplace and he put the suitcase in the car. Later when I retrieved it I opened it up and saw that they were a pair of shoes in there. I'm not sure where he thought he was going but he needed shoes but it was just one of the things. There was a point that he had to go into the hospital because he needed was not feeling well and I sat in the chair and slept for three days because they treated him terribly. He was treated like an idiot that could not understand what they were saying about him right in front of his face. That was humiliating for him and me and I just couldn't leave him. I won't even get into the point where the personal care got so much that it was exhausting, and my parent's insurance would pay for somebody coming in but he was abusive to them when they did oh, so it was just easier to do it. I will say that Eric is right when he said that you need to take care of yourself also and sometimes even first because you cannot see how brutal Your Role is on your health. In saying this how I wouldn't take back one moment of time with him oh, it was something that I could also give to my mother oh, the peace of mind that he was being taken care of and loved as much as she loved him. The one thing I will say is that years before this happened oh, I had my parents' legal assets and everything updated and taken care of so that there was nothing left to be done when my father passed. As stupid as it sounds and morbid oh, it's important to have all these things done and so now it is my turn as I bubble up towards the top to make sure that all of my assets and wills and everything is in order years before I will ever need it and keep it updated. It's our job and it makes life easier for those who come behind us. That was a wonderful story, Lizelle and it touched my heart. I apologize for the mess this was written in, but, I am writing it on my phone, on the go. Pfft.

Slow down, you are moving too fast. ❤️

 25 days ago  

Oh sweet @dswigle, I was sooo sad reading your story! I think Alzheimers is one of the cruellest illnesses anyone can get, both for the person and their loved ones! I can just imagine how difficult it must have been for you having to see the deterioration and taking the responsibility of his caring!
I have to get my act together with getting power of attorney as Mom battles to write now as her whole right side is affected by the tumour, she also battles to eat without messing so we can't take her to restaurants as she's very proud; won't even eat at our table, prefers to eat alone in her bedroom. The moodiness is what upsets me greatly, I'm too touchy, keeping one's sense of humour does help! Ah shame, like when your Dad said he wasn't married to your Mom, oh my word, I can just imagine her shock at that!
We drew up a living will and got witnesses to sign it; this was after one of my best friends was put on life support despite no chance of ever having quality of life again. Her family had to then sign a document giving the doctors the right to turn the machines off, something they found very difficult but really the humane thing to do!
My Dad got his wish, used to say to Mom he would not want to get to the stage where he'd need caring, so although a shock for us, he was still fit and active when he suffered a ruptured aneurism.
Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us, you are one brave lady!

Omg @lizelle I am so sorry to hear, I know it's not a "pity party" as you say, but I can't help but wanting to give a shoulder 😔

My mother told me yesterday that she feels old, and she is nowhere near 90, so I can only imagine the dedication that it takes to be there for her, as much as you can of course.

As you said, it's a matter that we all be facing one day, but I don't think there is a "good way" to react to it, it hurts no matter what. I was just telling to a friend on hive, that in Africa, it's very rare to have the elders in care centre, because it's just not the culture; however in some case, I understand the decision, as you mentioned spending 24/7 as a caretaker is taxing, emotionally and physically.

I forgot what my point was...😄

 25 days ago  

Thank you for the shoulder @edprivat, it's very welcome💞
You're right, it's unthinkable in the black African culture not to take care of the elderly. Sadly some white South Africans think nothing of sometimes 'dumping' their parents in retirement homes and hardly ever visiting them, just awful! Of course not everyone think like that as it is often not practically possible to take care of them.
No easy solution hey!

This is so true, many people don’t like to talk about it but whether we like it or not we’ll also need to be cared for someday. So sorry about her condition, I hope things get better. You should find sometime to take care of yourself too

 26 days ago  

Thank you so much @d1homid, you're right, it's a subject we all avoid but sadly many of us will be faced with one day and there unfortunately is no easy solution!
I've realized the need of self-care, something I neglected, things are getting a little easier now.

Awwwww.. caring for loved ones isn't such an easy job.

As a child, when I travel to my hometown, I cared for my now late grandma alongside my mom, the little I could. I watched my mum do many things.. bath her, wash up the bedsheets soaked with urine.. so many things.

My mum may be going for surgery next week. Going for an appointment this Friday and I'm a bit anxious. I'm just 23 and I love my mum to bits, I want to do all I can with the little savings I have to ensure everything goes well.

This morning, I took a look at the mirror and reminded myself that I too will be old and need care.
The cycle of life.

 24 days ago  

Thank you for sharing this with us @akubillionnaire, hoping all goes well with your Mom's surgery if she goes next week. Unfortunately, we all walk that same route, I just pray that my health remains fair and that there will be someone to take care of me😉

You'll have someone to take care of you.

Good comes to those who does good.

Your post brought back memories of my mum when she declined in health and although she has transitioned a lot of years ago this time pops into my head now and then without warning. The love for my mum has never faded. 💜

 23 days ago  

It is awful seeing our parents who were so strong once upon a time, become so frail! Best to remember the good times, thank you for sharing your thoughts @angiemitchell💞

Caretaking is hard work! At one point in my life I worked at a nursing home, but I did not have the hardest job there by far - that is the CNA (certified nursing assistant). They're the ones helping people up and to shower and change adult diapers and dress and all of the difficult, and to many patients, the embarrassing, personal, kind of tasks. I salute anyone who can do that work, and they are NOT paid enough.
What about a part-time caretaker? Like you have a housekeeper that comes a couple of times a week, maybe a caretaker could too? That is definitely a thing here, I don't know if it is there so much.

 25 days ago  

We do have ladies working as carers but they mostly do it as a permanent job, I will try to find out about someone part-time if things get more difficult. Caring for the elderly as a career takes a special kind of person, I salute you for having worked in that field!
Thank you for the practical advice @ phoenixwren🤗

 24 days ago  

I hope that I can get a robot to assist me when I am old.

 23 days ago  

Now that would be just wonderful! Someone needs to design such a robot 😉

I was thinking about what I wrote and shamefully, I didn't write one thing to you, only about me, Talk about selfish!

You will never know just how much my heart goes out to you. It is definitely a labor of love, and because she is altogether in her head, it helps to put your mother's face on these tasks. I know it interferes with everything in your life and I am here to tell you that respite care is a very real/needed thing, otherwise, in time, you will be no good to anyone. Having an ill parent where you are having to do 24/7 care with no help, frankly, sucks the life out of you. I don't say this as a mean thing, I say this to make sure you care for yourself. I worry about you. being overwhelmed is so easy to do. You think you are okay, but, if you are not taking breaks and getting completely away from home, you are not getting a break.

You have a housekeeper, that could come one day just to sit with your mom, for a bit more money or if there is something you can trade off with her. Two hours, three hours. Enough for you to close your eyes and breathe. Don't be a hero. I adore you too much to see you being worn down. It happens. xoxo Love to you and Miss Lily ❤️

 25 days ago  

Ah thank you Denise, I really appreciate your warm thoughts but I am taking little breaks on the days our beautiful inside & outside Cynthia is here, plus our older son has booked a breakaway in the mountains mid Nov, so Cynthia will come and stay here for 4 nights and our younger son will also be here, we're so looking forward to it.
I realized I need to take care as I will be of no use to anyone, if something bad happens. My BP suddenly shot up and caused 2 scary incidents but it's all taken care of now with new meds and me learning to let hubby and my son give a hand where they can.
Thank you so much for your concern❤

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You're a very brave woman Lizelle. I am so stressed about my mom all the time - and she copes so well.