Sunday, November 22, 2015

98 Years Old and Still Going

     My mother turned 98 years old in October. She still lives by herself. She is almost blind with wet macular degeneration and is what I would call "stone deaf." But her mind is fine and she still fixes food for herself, and keeps her small house. We three daughters take turns attending to some of her needs, such as making sure there are groceries in the house, and sometimes bringing prepared food for her, taking her to various doctor's appointments, and to social and family events. My two sisters keep track of her finances and keep files for taxes, for greeting cards she wants to send to various people, and of appointments she must keep. She is a member of a church in her small town and the members there make sure she gets to church events and even to a few other social events in the community.

     Neighbors watch out for her. One morning she awoke to the sound of a man's voice calling her name as he came down her hall to her bedroom. She had fallen back asleep in the early morning after a somewhat sleepless night and it was 10:30 in the morning. She had not opened the shade on her bathroom window. A neighbor gentleman can see that window from his living room window and noted this. He considered what to do for a while and then decided he would check on her. He became more worried as he came down the incline from his home and said he was running by the time he got to her door. He had a key and came right into the house. But she was alright, a little confused and scared by the sound of his voice in her home. We three daughters were thankful that she has neighbors like this. Another lady who lives across the street watches to make sure she opens the living room drapes each morning.

     My husband believes we are abusing this old lady by not putting her in a nursing home. His mother lived and died in Israel and a relative there did find such a place for her so that is what my husband knows. He was living in the US and didn't have to deal with this decision himself. He actually got into trouble with my sister and her husband by being too vocal about that issue. But we three girls are all in agreement. Mom wants to stay in her home; doesn't want a nursing home unless she gets to a point where she must. Now, she is at some risk, we know. She took a fall a few weeks back and an abrasion on the front of her leg is still healing. We know there is a risk of her falling and breaking a hip or even worse. We have done what we can to prevent that. Recently the Comfort Care Keeper supervisor came for a visit and rolled up some throw rugs that were laying on the floor and took them out of the house. We have purchased a medical alert system and she wears an emergency button around her neck at all times. There is a lockbox outside the home so that in the event of a medical or other emergency, first responders can get into the locked home. We have employed a worker from an organization called Comfort Keepers to come and do some light housekeeping and to serve as a companion every couple weeks. When my mother's back was really bad, we had her coming twice a week, but as the back improved Mom lengthened out the time between these visits. She says she feels she has to come up with something for Joan to do, like she has to entertain Joan and that has become a burden for her. Lately we have encouraged her to have Joan to come more often, because we want her to do some light cooking for mom.

     The beauty of all this is that Mom still has her mind. She wants to know what is gong on. Even though she can't hear well, she always asks what was said. She is having a little word finding difficulties but otherwise her memory is almost perfect. I keep telling her that she will make it to 100. She doesn't believe it, but I

     Mom has always been a packrat. Now that tendency is somewhat worse because she can't see well enough to know what can be thrown away. Also she has some treasures among all that stuff. We will have to sort through it some day. Someone recently said that there is another euphemistic name for a packrat. I have that gene also so I was happy to learn that I could call my mother and myself, an archivist.

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