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OT--Raising parents

Old 12-09-2016, 03:35 PM
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BTW, the stuff about walkers, etc. Before my dad finally started using a walker, he had a cane. He'd hold the cane straight out in front of him like it was a sword. I said, Um, dad, you really need to put the cane ON the GROUND--holding it out in front of you isn't going to break a fall. He FINALLY practiced using the walker, and got pretty good at it, but as things got worse we finally convinced him to get a wheelchair (which he's used for years when they were still traveling). When I asked this week why he wasn't going out for meals, he said it was too hard to go that distance. I said, doesn't the wheelchair help? He said, we don't have a wheelchair. I said, I thought you did. He said, well, we did, but we weren't really using it so we sent it back. Aaaarrrghh!!!!
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Old 12-09-2016, 03:48 PM
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My mom, normally the most easy going of people, really put her foot down when it came to a life alert. No, nope, no way. Did. Not. Want. It. I could not figure out why she didn't want it. May have had something to do with my alcoholic bro, who lives with her. Maybe not. Remains a mystery. I agree that in your case, and in mine, things could be worse. Still, doesn't hurt to be vigilant.
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Old 12-09-2016, 04:17 PM
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You know, in my dad's case, he had this incredible fear of setting off the alarm by mistake (which did happen once, and he was incredibly embarrassed). We found, though, a device that communicates directly so a live person comes on to ask whether you need help. If there's no response, they send the ambulance, but if you pushed it by mistake they will cancel the alarm. Just a thought, in case that's the issue.

I think with a lot of it, though, they think about those goofy commercials with the lady whining, "I've fallen, and I can't get UP." There were all those jokes, and it got to be a symbol, I guess, of being old and doddering. Personally, I think I'll be getting my own in a few years when I'm no longer working. I'm a klutz under the best of circumstances, and living alone as I do it could be a while before anyone looked for me.
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Old 12-09-2016, 05:27 PM
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Be prepared is my motto. I often look at my parents' life choices as examples of how not to do things. They were great at saving money, which is good, but terrible at planning for a physically comfortable old age. My mother turned down a subsidized apartment two years ago for very viable reasons: the thought of physically moving scared her to death, she was worried about what would happen to my brother if she took the apartment, and she didn't know how she would like living in an apartment, having lived in a single family home for 50 years. Totally get it. We wouldn't force her to do anything she didn't want to. But...there aren't many options for her now. It's either assisted living or staying in her home. For now, we would like to keep her in her home. Not perfect, and not the way I want to do it in my old age, but it could be worse.
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Old 12-09-2016, 05:27 PM
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I'm also going to have a serious talk with my stepmom about whether she wants to hasten his decline by just passively letting him sit in his chair all day every day.
Absolutely, just sitting will hasten his decline. He will lose mobility and that is *awful* once it happens. It happened to my dad after a stroke. Losing mobility means diapers or at best, having to tell someone when they need to get you to the bathroom. Either way it's a terrible loss of dignity.

About the Life Alert- my in-laws have a neighbor in her 80s who has fallen many times, both indoors and out, and she really can't get up. She has at times not had help for hours. She refuses to get the Life Alert because she doesn't want to give a key to the company. Now that's stubborn. And scary.

This is a depressing topic for sure and not related to drinking but it seems those of us with aging parents have things to share on that subject. A conflict, huh?
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Old 12-09-2016, 05:46 PM
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Depressing? Yes and no. I, too, am trying to pay attention to where I will want to be in another 20 years. I've started taking better care of my health (though I need to get some exercise). I'm thinking about moving back west at some point--maybe Albuquerque--I like the vibe and the weather and it's much closer to the family I do have (mostly in Colorado). I'm thinking I'll probably want to rent a smallish place in an interesting neighborhood. I've also started talking to my kids about what I'm doing for my folks and telling them to take notes because they may wind up having to do the same for me and I'll try to be more reasonable/flexible than they've been.

I definitely want to have things set up in a way that will allow me to be as safe and independent as possible, planning for what will enable me to do that before I need it.

I do go out of my way to express appreciation to my dad for doing such great management of his money all these years. He was an NCO in the Air Force for 20 years, and a mid-level federal civil service employee for another 20-some years and he's managed to put together enough money to support himself and his wife for a nice retirement.

We all get old and die. Just want to keep enjoying life as long and as well as we can.
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Old 12-09-2016, 06:21 PM
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When my friend's father was alive, everybody thought he was a bit of a control freak because he never let his wife spend money. Fast forward several months later after his death. A shop clerk and then a bank teller took my friend aside and told her to watch her mother's finances. I also started hearing jokes about "that lady who spends hours at the deli buying scratch tickets" on FB. Yep, you guessed it... she was spending hundreds of dollars a day on those things.

Atul Gawande, in his book "Being Mortal'", spent some time discussing eldercare. He pointed out that many of the facilities are marketed toward the children of potential residents, not the actual residents themselves. Children want safety. Parents want independence. Ay, there's the rub.
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Old 12-10-2016, 06:53 AM
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That is such an interesting observation, Puzzled, about marketing going toward the children of potential residents, not the elderly themselves. Very true, I think. The irony in my life is that my bro and I have done as much as we can to keep my mother safe in her two-story home, without impinging on her autonomy. Yet she talks constantly about the house being too much--it's not. We take care of everything--and how she should go into assisted living. Well, as posted earlier, she turned down a subsidized apartment (sigh) so the less-cost ship has sailed. She can't apply again for two more years. She will be 93 by then. So we are looking at private pay assisted care because she totally resisted efforts to shield her savings years ago. This will burn through her savings in 3-5 years, depending on the facility. And...she wouldn't like it! She would hate living with other people. She doesn't like to visit family, for goodness sake, because she would have to sit and talk to them. I get so frustrated.
There is another good book, a few years old now, about aging and the commerce generated by it. It's called "shock of gray." Don't remember the author's name. It is probably a bit dated now, but it was an interesting read.
As to what any of this has to do with drinking, I consider caring for aged parents a potential stressor, just like job-related stress or family stress. Peace.
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Old 12-10-2016, 07:05 AM
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I like the Albuquerque plan, btw. Such an interesting area in which to live. I think I am an east coast baby myself. Not nuts about Massachusetts. I grew up here, and was more than happy to leave. We lived in PA for many years, just outside of Philadelphia. I liked it there, but access to ocean and beach is a bit problematical. I like ocean. I have been thinking alot about my next place to live. Rhode Island is nice. Lots of water there.
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Old 12-10-2016, 08:14 AM
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Originally Posted by LexieCat View Post
Personally, I think I'll be getting my own in a few years when I'm no longer working. I'm a klutz under the best of circumstances, and living alone as I do it could be a while before anyone looked for me.
You know, Lexie, this is something I've begun to think about myself. Like you, I live alone w/no neighbors on one side and a retired couple who are gone a LOT on the other. If it was a work day and I didn't show, people would wonder where I was, but how long would it take before someone actually came to look for me? Days, I'm sure...and I don't tend to keep my phone w/me when I'm at home, usually plugged into the charger.

Learning to admit it when we need help is a good practice to get into, regardless of how old we are, I think.
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Old 12-10-2016, 08:30 AM
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Originally Posted by honeypig View Post
Learning to admit it when we need help is a good practice to get into, regardless of how old we are, I think.
You know, I think that's one way in which those of us who have gone through recovery maybe have a bit of an advantage as we get older. I think the feeling we have to do EVERYTHING ourselves and not ask for help, has been proven wrong already. I know that I'm a lot more willing, and less stubborn about doing things "my way", than I was when I was young. Even when I was a little kid, my report cards always noted that I wouldn't accept suggestions well. That's sorta been beaten out of me by life. We all need help now and then, and there's no shame in asking for it when we do, or in admitting we've been doing things the hard way. Just another thing to be grateful for.

Of course, some older people develop dementia or other cognitive difficulties that interfere with the ability to have a good sense of when they need help. But for so many, I think, it's a lifelong habit that is much harder to break after so many years of doing things the way they always have.
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Old 12-10-2016, 08:48 AM
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Maudcat, I'm with your mother. I'm such an introverted person that the prospect of spending my last years in a group home fills me with dread. At parties I sometimes run to the bathroom not because I have to go, but because I need a break from all the stimulation.

However, ocean and water = ahhhhh.
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Old 12-10-2016, 08:58 AM
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The place where my folks live is a combo of "independent living" and assisted living. About the only "group" aspect of either is meals, which are served in a very nice dining hall with table service, not unlike the clubhouse where they often had meals back when they lived in the retirement golf resort community they moved from. The apartments are like regular apartments, with a small kitchen if you prefer to eat there (though the meals are included in rent). You can have your own car, though transportation is available. There are no forced group activities.

I think I could probably get used to something like that, even though I am not exactly a social butterfly, to put it mildly. Not now, certainly, but 20 years from now? Maybe.
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Old 12-10-2016, 09:03 AM
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Originally Posted by LexieCat View Post
I think I could probably get used to something like that, even though I am not exactly a social butterfly, to put it mildly. Not now, certainly, but 20 years from now? Maybe.
Like you said, Lexie--the qualities we learn to cultivate in recovery are likely going to stand us in good stead throughout life, and especially in old age when we simply will not be able to do as we always did/as we prefer to do, for physical or financial reasons.

Flexibility, acceptance, humility, detachment, gratitude, taking responsibility for ourselves while still not taking ourselves too seriously--it's all gonna be even MORE important, I think...
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Old 12-10-2016, 09:14 AM
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honeypig....not to worry....there are phone services that will call you each day to just make sure that you are alive...lol...
You will begin to charge the phone all night, by the bedside and carry it in a fanny pac during the day......

LOl...my mother refused anything that made her look "old". My sister baught her the LifeAlert...and she refused it.
At 92 she refused to use a cane (to ensure balance) because she said they were for "old people".....
She, one time, gave a "come to Jesus" talk to a receptionist at a doctor's office, because she asked my mother's age in front of the other people in the waiting room.
to her credit...she did look many years younger than her actual age....
She said..."I am NOT going to give up my vanity".....
LOL...I am the oldest child...and, she kept telling me to tell people I am younger than I am...because, she said that if I am younger, it made her look younger.
She also instructed that her age not be put on a grave marker, because she didn't want nosey people knowing her age.
My husband had some photography experience...so, she only wanted pictures taken by him...because she said that he understood lighting and made her l ook good....

Now, mind you...this comes form a woman (and my grandmother, too) that reminded me all the time that beau ty was on the INSIDE....
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Old 12-10-2016, 09:20 AM
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Some years ago, there was a very small movement toward designing communal living developments for aging people. Private space combined with communal space, kinda like communes of years past. The idea was for people to interact as wanted and to keep an eye on each other, while still maintaining autonomy and privacy. I thought this was a fabulous idea., particularly as I am in that huge cohort of aging boomers. Sadly, the concept hasn't gained much traction. Over 50 communities seem to dominate the living landscape, which is okay, I guess. I can't really speak to them because I don't know much about them. We have looked at a few. They seem pricey and somewhat homogenous, imo. But, again, I haven't made a study of them. I am sure there are communities to suit all tastes. Just have to find them.
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Old 12-10-2016, 09:25 AM
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Sue Hubbell, a commercial beekeeper and naturalist writer, wrote a great piece for the New York Times some years back about her mother and aging. Her mom always claimed to be a few years younger than she actually was, so Sue had to claim to be younger as well so stories would match. As a a result, she said, she grew up not always remembering her real age, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. It was a charming piece. She is a terrific writer..
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Old 12-10-2016, 09:27 AM
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Maudcat....I think the communal living idea is a fabulous one....
I just bought the book "Tribe" and am anxious to read it! However, I bought "Sapiens" (a brief history of humankind)...and I can't put it down.....so, "Tribe" will have to wait a little while......

I think that the central premise of "Tribe" is that we are meant to live in groups of about 40 or so.......

I like the beekeeper story....I will look Sue Hubbell up....we share something in common!!
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Old 12-10-2016, 09:34 AM
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She is really good! I will look for tribe at my library. Hate to buy books if I can borrow them. Also, almost anything by Bill Bryson is worth reading.
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Old 12-10-2016, 09:58 AM
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Maudcat....I just looked Bill Bryson up on amazon....and his stuff looks great!
I think I might go for the one..."A Walk In The woods", first....as it has to do with the Appalachian Trail....I grew up in West Virginia mountains...so, this sound like it would be right down my alley......
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