Irony of Elder Care

The irony of elder care is the slower they go, the faster we have to move to keep up!


When I first came to live with mom, she was just starting to decline and I thought maybe I moved in a tad too soon.

But she had already lost her driver's license, was walking for groceries and calling rides for appointments so it was time.

It's almost four years now since I've been here and my duties have increased with the passing time as to where I'm pretty much doing everything that happens outside of her personal space. Her abilities decrease but my responsibilities increase.

As she slows down, I speed up and subtly add more on my plate. I see the next stage for her becoming just getting up, getting dressed, and personal hygiene. Her total environment beyond that, making sure everything beyond her body operates smoothly in order to maintain her comfort, is on me.

That she can still take care of her physical self as much as she does, is a blessing and I'm starting to see this situation as half-full!

She has macular degeneration and as her eyesight fails her world becomes smaller. If she goes shopping with me, she wants to just sit in the car and wait. She no longer wants to go to the funerals of the few friends she has left.

In fact, her home is becoming her world. Everything diminishes mentally and physically. It all just gets smaller and smaller, less and less, until Poof! one day she will just disappear completely.

This is a rare experience to slowly witness an aging end-of-life. Most of us know only sudden or distant death and we just show up for the ceremony. When I first came to moms house four years ago, I was full of anger but just as she is slowly shifting, so am I. I now see her with compassion and kindness and actual awe at this whole process of aging.

My mom is pretty incredible.

I have been at odds with my mom my whole life and I never thought I would write those words in a million years. But there they are. So yes, she still drives me crazy, she's still stubborn, she still tells me what to do and how to do it, she still asks me a thousand times what day is it, but as her earthly spirit and essence decreases in front of my eyes, these things no longer matter.

What matters is that I'm here, conscious and aware, to witness and help with the transition of a person who lived 95 years on this planet and surely made mistakes, but gave her all to life and tried to do the best she could. And if we could all just do that in our own lives, we're doing pretty damn good.

So mom, I'm going to do my best to be here for you in your decline. And I hope I can keep up.

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Wonderful
by: Anonymous

You are certainly an incredible person to have such a wonderful attitude. My 92 year old father came to live with my husband and me in December shortly following the death of my mother.

Both of my parents were wonderful, and they were married for 62 years. My mother's death has sent my father into a spiral of depression. I thank God every day that my father is here with me, and I try to do everything I can to make him as happy as possible in what I assume will be the last few years of his life.

He has no major health issues, other than being deaf in one ear, blind in one eye, and mobility problems (uses a walker).

His depression has been difficult, since he has "episodes" where he questions his life, believes he's a burden, doesn't want to live, etc.

I try to take him out for lunch at least once a week, and we go on car rides at least twice a week. This has definitely been a change of life for me (although I'm retired at age 60).

Sometimes I feel like I'm not doing enough to help him, and I also know that if he gets to the point where he can't walk or go to the bathroom alone I will have to find an assisted living facility close-by, since I am physically unable to lift him.

I will try to adopt your attitude as my father declines due to aging, and just accept these as natural phenomenon. I pray that he does NOT get Alzheimer's.

My mother had Level 4 Alzheimer's along with severe lung disease when she died. It was just awful, but my Dad never left her side. I'm determined to take care of him for as long as I can.

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Your the Best
by: Anonymous

My mother is stubborn doesn't want to let me suggest what she should do, etc. You are a saint, with my mothers age the older she gets the worse she gets.

She constantly puts me down, saying nasty things, always putting me down. She also has macular degeneration and still lives on her own.

I wish I could be as caring as you it's been difficult since I became sick myself. I took care of my mother a number of years and now my brother has stepped up to take care of her.

I'm glad as I needed a break.
Hang in there

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Proud of You
by: Anonymous

This is the first positive comment I've read yet. Your insight in fantastic.

I hope I can have an attitude like you as my mother declines. She is in the early stages of dementia - it may increase and it may not. I get frustrated but I never let her know that.

When I read the horror stories on this site I am sooooo thankful that my Mom is a giving, caring, loving, kind person who just wants to be with me and my brother for as long as she can. Your comments were encouraging and spoke to me strongly.

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