Caring for aging parents

September 9, 2006 at 12:06 PM (Aging) (, )

If you are in midlife, you will probably have faced, face now or will soon face dealing with an aging parent.

This is just a series of questions, for which I expect no simple answers.

They too, often do not want or wish for, a “cure.” for their newly arrived differences. Like us, they don’t sit on the phone and wait for a cure for the effects of age, or diseases which make aging tougher. They’ll hit the doctor’s office and take a pill, but at least in the early going they aren’t searching madly for cures. Like us, loss of autonomy is what they fight against the hardest. Being old, looking at it from the outside, may not be the hardest part of the last years.

It’s the isolation. That’s the killer.

If they are experiencing memory deficit of some kind, do we then leave that go unhindered, untreated, because they seem to be fine with it?

And what if, in your perception as the child, they *need* care 1. Are you forcing their former “normal” on them? They are simply different.

When does it stop being a question of safety, and start being infringement on their self-ness?

What if someone has always run their own ship, and now insists on continuing, even if that means a kind of mental running aground, anger, isolation, bitterness, rather than accept strangers into the home, or worse yet some level of institutionalization?

Is it acceptable to put Grandmother into a nursing home, and yet of course we will fight to the death for a young quad to live outside and among and integrated in the world?

Are the “rules” different for young impaired people and older (and/or disabled) people?

Why or why not?

And even further, what if it is your perception that they need care, and they have either grudgingly “bought in” to that idea, or wholeheartedly embraced it but due to your own impairments, you yourself cannot provide it…?

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