The point of this is that I am having some sad - no, compassionate - no, negative… I don’t know!
Being in denial of the future - or living in the face of adversity!
I’m not liking the thought that my frail 90 yr old mother will end up bed bound and/or blind - she is very nearly blind and has heart and lung disease, she’s a trooper with a real zest for life and will to live.
I fear that if either of these happen she will give up and fade away and that would be awful for her when she has given love, car and happiness to everyone all her life and has a strong love of life.
We operate on live for today and let tomorrow take care of itself.
But there is the odd day that it catches me out with and insight into the future, too upsetting to dwell on it and I tell myself when it comes we will cope with it then. That will be hard without my late identical twin to help, we were going to share her care together.
It might not happen.
I’m glad there isn’t a crystal ball, I don’t want to see the future if it isn’t good.
Live for today and let tomorrow take care of itself.
I think you are right to enjoy the now and each day as it comes.
When the sad thoughts come, remind yourself that your Mum has had a rewarding and worthwhile life and that you are giving her the best care now. Life for all of us is a journey and your Mum may well be a lot more accepting of her situation than you are.
The thoughts are usually mostly fleeting and rare, but then there’s the odd time things come to mind totally unbidden. I just want my mother to be happy. The great unknown. Well it can take care of itself when it happens.
Accepting…when she’s having a really bad day, she jokes saying to send for the vet and I ask if I should ask him to make it humane? We laugh and I know she’s ok because she’s joking.
I have lost all four of our parents, brother and husband.
From the sad knowledge I have gained, I would suggest you worked out a plan.
Elderly care means either increasing frailty over a long period, or a sudden “life changing event”.
If you prepare for both eventualities, you won’t need to panic.
There are all sorts of things to consider, everyone has different priorities.
Who to ring when the time comes, write down their number. Notice in the paper? Formal dark clothing or bright colours?
Number for the Registrar.
Maybe you have already brought together financial information?
A joint account would avoid funds being frozen.
Where are the house deeds or tenancy details?
If you consider these and write them in a notebook, over the next month, you can then put it away until needed. Having needed to arrange a funeral director with no notice, in an emergency, twice, my advice would be to do everything to avoid this.
Thanks Bowling Bun
It is already the long term increasing frailty with her progressive heart and lung disease and wearing out ageing body but she is also at risk of a sudden life changing event.
The paperwork/organisation side of it isn’t the issue,it is all taken care of.
Both POA’s done long time ago
Then after the sudden death of my identical twin we sorted out the other things you mentioned for her including DNAR and I take care of all the admin and finances.
Everything is in hand, ready.
It’s just the great unknown - the unwanted actually, but it’s inevitable.
I feel for you Breezy as it is always hard to see a loved one becoming more and more frail and losing ‘quality of life’ gradually. You have the infrastructure in place but it will still be very hard. You can take comfort though that you are there for your mother now and doing everything possible to help her. Try to enjoy and treasure every day? It sounds facile but I do this with my very beloved older cats.
One other suggestion is maybe to widen your circle just a little? I know it is hard to reach out when at times it seems that every minute is taken up caring. I know friends in similar situations, who have felt lost when the parent they cared for died, my mother was one of those.
I understand where you’re coming from, Breezey. But with my professional hat on, it’s far more stressful to worry about the future and/or avoid it, than preparing for the inevitable. But while that’s generally true, it’s a big step. So maybe think about the little things - the useful and the unavoidable…
I had a carer who had gone through one of our First Aid sessions who was faced with a choking situation. She didn’t panic, she went through the steps and eventually realised she’d need to carry out the Heimlich Manoeuvre. One life saved, fortunately.
Obviously you can’t prepare for everything, but some things you can and ideally should. A hospital grab bag, a list of medical conditions and medications, even a spare phone charger can be useful. Because most people end up going to hospital at some point - whatever the potential outcome. One less thing to worry about.
When Mum had her first fall that she couldn’t get up from, she didn’t have a grab bag although I’d encouraged her to. Taking advice from the fruit of her womb wasn’t on her playlist…and that left me in a situation where I had to go with her in the ambulance first, and then go back to her flat (two miles on foot) at 3am to find some day clothes, a few nighties, medication, etc., and then back to the hospital, finally getting to bed around 5am for an hour. My blood pressure was not great that day. The next time, the bag was ready and handy for picking up on the way out of her bedroom.
Sometimes the small stuff can help a lot. Even if you don’t want to deal with the big, scary stuff (most of us don’t).
The other thing is to make sure that you have something going on in your life that isn’t caring for your Mum, as Helena says. She’s absolutely right. It doesn’t make you feel better, but having people to talk to means you will be much less isolated when the time comes.
Thanks Helena, yes it is difficult and I felt it the other day when she had a bed day and looked so old and frail. Yes each day is precious.
I’ve got a circle of friends who will be there on the other side.
I have a lot of interests and hobbies and a big list of friends to visit in the UK, Canada and USA.
My life will be very full. I am at heart of a happy disposition and being happy is important to me, albeit there are sad and low times in life to endure.
It’s just the unknown and hoping for the best for her, for dignity. I shouldn’t dwell on it, but it got to me the other day,
it is just the unknown that’s annoying but it is better not to know!
I’m not worried, just annoyed that it’s unknown!
My mum has had many hospital visits, I have an alphabetical list of her meds which the ambulance crew and hospital love, it also has her conditions listed and her major events on it.
No grab bag, well there’s a washbag ready and if the paramedic says hospital then I get a bag ready, there is time to get it done while they clear their kit away and get her into the ambulance and do their paperwork. If she’s had a stroke I start doing the bag while we are waiting.
oh gosh Charles a two mile walk in the middle of the night and back again, gosh.
We’re in a small sleepy village that goes back generations in the residents, we are newcomers being here just a few decades, I keep tight lipped and I don’t particularly want to talk about it with friends, I tend to want to just let tomorrow take care of itself, I don’t want to dwell on it, it’s just a passing thought once in a blue moon. Friends, neighbours etc are a conversational distraction from care.
I have a lot of interests and hobbies and a new camera arriving soon.
Everything is in place for the inevitable.
It’s just the unknown future that I can’t prepare for, if blind or bedbound. That annoys me.
@breezey - I can feel your pain. My Mum’s only gone 70 but she looks so old and fragile and frail now. She’s the youngest in her family - her 82+ year old siblings are still knocking about and seem a lot younger than her.
I try to do the best I can for her but it’s tiring and draining. I just can’t turn my back on her because she was the only one that did everything for us growing up. Dad was absolutely useless and was an egotistical bully. Mum brought us all up and gave us so much love.
I stupidly read BowlingBuns signs of death and Mum ticks most of the boxes.
I’m just taking each day as it comes and don’t think about tomorrow as it gets too much for me.
I don’t drink. I don’t smoke. I don’t do drugs. When it gets too much for me, I’ll go to bed, watch horror movies and eat lots of crisps. It’s happening every night at the moment. That’s the only thing that keeps me going.
I know Mum will go one day like we all will and I will be in pieces but it’s too hard to think about. She’s like my best friend in a weird way.
I’m glad you have friends to chat and offload with. 99% of my friends won’t talk about it. My best workmate told me she has no idea how I do it day in day out. Her Mum had a hip operation and helping her got too much after 5 days so she just booked a holiday and cleared off. Lol. She was only helping with the very basics and all.
Sending hugs to you Breezy. I thought I was prepared with my dad as I was concentrating on his main dangers which would have been fairly immediate & life or limb threatening (complex serious heart & vascular issues) but he suddenly went blind and (excuse the pun) it blindsided both of us as he’s too old to re-learn how to do everything. Then he recently had a fall and fractured his back - he can now transfer but initially it was looking like he’d be bed bound. We still don’t know if he’ll ever be able to get in a car again & between that and him struggling to chew much now he’s losing pleasure in food & getting out, which is pretty much all he has left as he can’t hear much either. If we’d had prior warning over any of this would it have changed anything? Well we might have been able to put things in place for when he went blind so that had a chance of adjusting but if we’d known it was coming we might have been able to head it off (he didn’t get seen in time…)
7 months ago Dad was living independently other than us driving him places. I thought I would either get ‘that’ phone call from someone, it was just a case of who, or that he’d very slowly decline. I was very naïve! He’s lost chunks of himself since then starting with the blindness and I’m struggling to adjust to what might come next now that I know it could be anything & that it could be totally unrelated to any of his current health issues! Children get taught about puberty, pregnancy & the menopause but nobody teaches you about what to expect when your parents get old do they?!
Folks live within their own experiences and some just want to be in a happy bubble, or protect their boundaries or whatever else.
Music is my mainstay, playlists, watching concerts and the radio including radio 4.
When the inevitable happens it might be a relief depending on how she is, it was for my grandad.
I was pondering on that recently that you are not taught such in schools. Perhaps that is a parenting subject in their views, but parents protect your innocence and hide a lot of it from you, unless you are living with it.
Sorry to hear about your dad, that must have been harrowing time when it happened.
I hope he remains stable.
I have often said that we are taught about “bringing up a baby” but never any mention about what it is like to be a “fifty something” with all four parents disabled and approaching the end of their lives. No one EVER tells you never to put things off until tomorrow because you might not live as long as you think, Parents want their children to look after them because then they can pretend to the world that they are fine, and “can manage” when they are neither!!