My mother is a piece of work! She will soon be 83 and has lived alone for nearly 35 years since my father died.
During that time she went back to school, became an LPN, worked for the State of Illinois in a mental health hospital for over 15 years, built a house which she subsequently paid for, was an excellent grandmother to eight grandkids, and supported herself through nearly 20 years of retirement.
And, of course, the best testimonial of her quality as a person is that all three of her children, who are nearing retirement, built strong careers where they made meaningful contributions to society while raising their own families. That’s quite a lot!
Oh, and by the way, each of us kids have massive respect for our mother – for who she is and what she has done with her life.
Now it is becoming more difficult for mother to stay on top of everything involved in maintaining a household. Keeping the house up, eating well, keeping track of medications, staying somewhat active in various senior activities in her community – she can still do these things. But they are getting harder. She makes more mistakes with chores and medications. She is a bit more forgetful.
My brother, my sister and I talk with her or see her a lot. It’s been increasingly clear over the last six months that things were not working quite as well as they have in the past. We’ve been unclear as to what we should do and how to think through and make decisions, especially since they will impact our mother and her quality of life.
Thank goodness I now work with very experienced geriatric care managers!
A few late afternoon informal discussions with my co-workers, whom I GREATLY respect, helped me clarify – and helped me clarify for my brother and sister – our situation. So, this week, my mother, who lives half the country away from me, started receiving home care services.
We are starting with a few hours a week of care. As my mother gets accustomed to this new person in her life, and as my mother’s situation changes, our home care system will change to address the needs at the time.
What a relief for me, my brother and my sister!!!! We didn’t have to figure all this out in a vacuum!
~ Nick Kirby