Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Elderly, at home care, etc.

5 months since Marion and Bernice passed away. It seems like yesterday. You know, I remember when Marion and George lived on Briarwood Drive. I remember them also living next to us on Arthur street in Dartmouth. And yet, time takes everyone away from us. I remember how frail she was in January 2012 just after her last stroke. She could not walk very far without panting and had to be on a high level of oxygen (6.5 / 10) . It wasn't easy because she also had Lewy Body dementia.

With Lewy body dementia, people believe they can see and hear things that don't exist. Many times I remember Marion in a panic, convinced a man was in her bed or someone was under the covers. Sometimes it was a baby, sometimes it was an intruder. It got so bad that in 2010 of September I actually phoned 911. The ambulance took her in to be evaluated; I thought for sure she was going to be admitted to the hospital. But there's no room in the hospital for people anymore. Back then I think we had gone 4 days without sleep because she would not sleep. It wasn't her fault, but she would wake up 10 minutes later and begin making coffee as if it was morning time.

I don't think I could care for anyone anymore like we did for her at home. It is simply too much work and beyond my physical means. When you take care of an elderly person at home 24/7, it is an exhausting, mentally and physical job. Some people say they are selfish that they cannot care for their parents when they get old and have dementia; I simply call it a fact of life.

If I were to become senile I would not want to be a burden to anyone I know. Put me in a home where I can be looked after safely. It comes to a simple matter of safety for the elderly person when you cannot be there 24/7 to take care of them. Most people need to work and cannot afford to take 10-20 years off to take care of their elderly parents. I know I can't do that. It sucks but it's a fact of life.

Use these factors when determining when your elderly parents need to be placed in a 24/7 care home:

* Your parent has dementia or alzheimers
* Your parent requires help in dressing, eating, and cleaning
* Other advanced health issues such as incontinence, diabetes, or stroke

Of course, when you place your parent in a home you immediately feel guilty for doing so. "What could I have done?" and "Should I have taken them in to my home longer?" are the kind of guilt questions you'll ask yourself.

Recently, we gave away Marion's wheelchair, walker, and bathtub lift to a friend who wasn't very healthy anymore. We had no use of those items anymore. Giving away those items was emotionally tough. I know Marion would have supported us in doing that. We did not make a single cent; we gave the items away. She would have approved of that.

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