For as long as I can remember, my parents planned to age in place in their home. They made me promise to support them in this endeavor, and I did. They understood initially that some situations — severe illness or extreme memory problems, for instance — might require their plans to be changed. But as … Continue reading
Filed under aging parents …
The Car, My Elderly Parents, and Me
After living happily in their retirement community for nearly fifteen years, my parents were declining. My dad’s memory was weak, and my mom fell frequently. In their nineties, they ate almost every meal in one of the cafes and gradually ceased to use the various gadgets in their lives —the dishwasher, the c-pap mask, the humidifier, etc. Using … Continue reading
Why I Disappeared from Blogging During My Parents Last Years of Life
Well, I thought that, given the support of my two parents throughout my years of blog writing on As Our Parents Age, I would keep writing until the end of their lives. However, it was not to be. I found that I wanted to protect them and help them live their last years in private. … Continue reading
The Photos and Paperwork That Document a Life
When the process of downsizing officially begins, attending to a life’s worth of possessions can take a long time. Decisions must be made about furniture, clothes, books, knick-nacks, household goods, vanity items, jewelry. Dealing with possessions, however, is the easy part. The most difficult time, at least from my perspective, comes near the end of … Continue reading
When the Parent With the Better Memory Dies First
My parents were married for 71 years. Over the past several years Dad experienced declining memory and mom declined physically. She helped him remember things (or remembered them for him), and Dad — even in his 90s he was still agile and quite strong — helped her move around, fetching things as needed so she … Continue reading
Caregiving in the Time of CoVid-19, #26: Connecting with Grandchildren!?
One of the joys of aging is the privilege of grandparenting. If one takes seriously the fundamental precept that engaging in healthy activities helps one age well, the opportunity to support children and grandchildren is right up there on the keeping-healthy scale. At first, way back last March, it did not seem like isolation would … Continue reading
It’s Not Worth Correcting Family Members With Weakening Memories
Forgetting is an everyday affair when dementia creeps into a family’s life. For adult children it presents a conversation conundrum. Speaking with fragile parents as they recall even more fragile memories can be frustrating and time consuming. Used to functioning as knowledgeable and independent individuals, people with memory challenges do not expect to be corrected. … Continue reading
Watching My Mom Pass Away
We are neck deep in the CoVid-19 epidemic with social isolation, mask wearing, activity limits, and online lives that we could never have imagined a mere six months ago. Some people are fighting over masks and social distancing. Some of those individuals don’t even believe the virus is real. It is not a relaxed time … Continue reading
Caregiving in the Time of CoVid-19, #23: Seeing Elderly Parents Again — the Process Begins
How will assisted living communities, nursing homes, and retirement communities go about reopening while CoVid-19 is still around and infecting people? A May 18, 2020 Washington Post, Charting a Slow Path for Reopening, describes the conditions that the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) wants assisted living communities and nursing homes to follow to … Continue reading
Caregiving in the Time of CoVid-19, #21: Translating for Doctors During the Spanish Influenza!
This isn’t the first time people in the United States have worn masks to protect themselves during an epidemic. A month or two ago, as the incidence of CoVid-19 increased sharply, I wrote about my grandmother’s memories during the Spanish Influenza. I was delighted to find that remembrance, one among the eight reminiscences that Rachel Corbo … Continue reading
Caregiving in the Time of CoVid-19, #20: Not Wearing Masks Near a Caregiving Community??
It has been 80 days since I’ve seen my parents, and it’s frustrating. As an adult daughter, I want to offer support and help them remain in good spirits as they traverse the rough road of their fragile elderhood while simultaneously living through an international pandemic. Right now, though, just about the only things I … Continue reading
Caregiving in the Time of CoVid-19, #16 — Worries
Today is the 45th day that my husband and I have been in our home, social distancing, leaving only for daily walks and trips to the grocery store every six or seven days. Just about every day, for a short period, I feel overwhelmed by my worries — worries unique to this crazy time of … Continue reading
Caregiving in the Time of CoVid-19, #15: Exercising Etiquette
If you are trying to take care of yourself, the personal caregiving that is needed during this period of CoVid-19 social distancing, exercise is important. When this period of isolation began I did home aerobics, walked, and occasionally do slow walk-jog interval exercise at the local high school track. Now, however, the track is closed because … Continue reading
Caregiving in the Time of CoVid-19, #13: It’s a Time of Melancholy If Parents Are in Long Term Care…
I’m so appreciative of the way the assisted living community where my parents now live went into action quickly. Right after the problems in the care community in Washington state, my parents’ little village closed to visitors and set up dining services that emphasize social distance. I know VMRC is doing everything possible to protect … Continue reading
Caregiving in the Time of CoVid-19, #12: The Developmental Stages of Social Distancing
As a lifelong educator, I tend to consider challenges, be they learning or life-related, by observing the developmental stages that people pass through. When I think about family issues, learning problems, unusual challenges, or ongoing predicaments I deconstruct the steps needed to address an issue, learn about it, and, if necessary develop coping skills. Most … Continue reading
Caregiving in the Time of CoVid-19, #11, FaceTiming With My Parents — Thanks, VMRC!
For twelve days I have walked around worrying about my parents, no matter what else I am doing. Oh, I am not worried about their assisted living community or how it is run. It’s as good as it gets when it comes to caring, respect, and attention to needs. And epidemiology wise, the staff is … Continue reading
Caregiving in the Time of CoVid-19, #10: Why Are We Still Doing This When It Doesn’t Seem to Change Anything?
So why are we still social distancing and staying home? I have heard people ask this question several times in the past few days as we have neared and then passed 10 days of remaining in our houses. And why is the case-count still going up after those 10 days? Also, how come we have … Continue reading
Caregiving in the Time of CoVid-19, #9: Missing My Parents
I miss my parents so much. It’s been almost two weeks — two long weeks since their assisted living community was closed to visitors. I’ve met half-a-dozen other adult children whose parents are in similar situations. I know they are well taken care of, and I know that the staff is doing everything possible to … Continue reading
Caregiving in the Time of CoVid-19, #8: Running Errands
Social distancing is hard enough, but so are the steps required to go out and do something and come home again. Each day I spend most of the time at home, with the exception of my daily walk and occasional errands to the grocery store. I have a pretty detailed routine that I go through … Continue reading
Caregiving in the Time of CoVid-19, #7: Bill Gates Predicted this Pandemic for Over Ten Years
I keep meeting people who are surprised about the CoVid-19 pandemic and the social distancing strategies required to help mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. This is an especially common musing among adult children caregivers whose elderly parents are now isolated and without any visitors as assisted living and long term care communities try to … Continue reading