Saturday, April 28, 2007

Challenges presented by aging

I have struggled to post this week. I've been continuing to manage the ongoing drama that has been taking place in Grammy's life. My heart is heavy and I have had knots in my stomach thinking of all that she is going through. She has been married to J for 26 years. It is a second love for both of them. They are both in their 90's and up until about 6 years ago they travelled extensively and enjoyed a very active life. Over the past six years they have slowed down, understandably. It had not been until this last year that they have really lost their independence. J was diagnosed with dementia and Grammy has significant difficulty with mobility. Neither drive and they recently gave up their car. This is a blessing because having the car there was a constant source of worry for my family. I have read so many stories involving elderly drivers forgetting which pedal was the gas and the break. Though my worries in that area are eased they miss their independence terribly. Grammy just wants to go away on vacation for a few days just she and J. I don't know how to facilitate this and still stay present in my own life. On top of all this their lives are now being micromanaged by a member of J's family. This person has always said that all they desire is the best for both of J and Grammy but it has been noted by the head of the home health care agency that this well intentioned person clearly does not like Grammy and seemingly has some sort of agenda. The golden years should be a time of joy. Grammy and J do not want for anything they have money to do what they want yet they are constantly aggravated and agitated by this family member. They are even considering selling their beautiful home to get away from the micromanaging. I am at a loss as to what to do. I am the 'go to' person where it comes to their care, or Grammy's care. I am also the one who has to be the contact person for J's family. I am finding it increasingly difficult to talk with this person when I know about the sneaky and mean things that have been happening. R can't even stand to discuss the situation as he has never liked the micro manager. We are going down to visit Grammy and J tomorrow and Aunt J had planned to come up from her home to visit as well and now that might not materialize. Once again it will be just us. Grammy will be disappointed, the children will be bored and there will be a good chance that we will run into the micro manager as she always seems to show up when we visit. With all of this going on it really makes me think about my own journey through life and how I should plan for my aging and that of my husband. Aging shouldn't be so hard. Elders should be respected and cared for without worry of losing all they have. We must do better.


Judy said...

I am faced with very similar problems with my Mom. She will be 90 on May 11th, is already in Assisted Living, confined to a wheelchair, but very alert and aware of everything. Life certainly is a challenge, isn't it!

Barbara said...

Judy, thanks for sharing. I don't have any friends who share in this journey. It is comforting to know that I am not alone. Happy Birthday to your Mom. I will keep you both in my thoughts and prayers.


Ann said...

Barbara, I am so sorry that you are going through this; but it is the affliction of our generation, isn't it? My best friend just lost her father in December, and he had been frail for several years. I am in a retirement parish where I see people go from being sharp, active elders to frail and sometimes demented, and then I'm officiating at their funerals. It breaks my heart every time. Yes, plan away -- and pray, too!

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