Friday, January 11, 2013

As Time Goes By

So raise your hand if your parents are over 75. I know there are a few of you out there who are now in the position of "raising your parents".

I have never had children so I have no earthly clue how to raise them and keep them safe. With that said, I do see however, the comparison between raising a child and dealing with aging parents who are in "Winter Solstice". I still have to make sure they are safe, secure, medicinally sound and manage their finances to the extent that they aren't giving money away to every charity that calls them on the phone.

I am in the unique position of being the only child to raise my two aging parents who live in separate households. Mom is better off than Dad.....mentally, physically and financially. Dad doesn't like Mom for any of those positives. Dad is cantankerous and has early onset dementia. Mom can be cantankerous, but has come a long way since she came to the realization that I am all she has now. Dad would love to continue to live like he is working full time, but realizes that the social security check is the only thing he has coming in so he has to "fake" it. Mom is on zero medications and Dad takes meds for his heart and blood pressure. Both of them live alone and both hate the words "assisted living" and "nursing home". Mom is uber prepared for her old age - POA, will and funeral arrangements. Dad has not given me POA, wants to be cremated and can't remember where he put the copy of his will.

(Cue the circus music)

I realize that I have spoken about aging parents before in an earlier post. In 2009, my Dad's medical conditions were just starting. The only thing I knew at the time was that this was the first parental challenge I would face alone without my brother. Time has gone by....quickly yet slowly. It has me looking down the road and thinking about tough decisions and how I will make them for my Dad with the little authority that has been granted to me. I don't want to have to think about broken hips or car accidents. I don't want to think about the point of no return and how will I will I get him in a facility that will allow me to sleep soundly at night. He doesn't realize that some of the decisions he is making is because of the dementia. He thinks he is fine. He thinks he can still drive. Luckily, he doesn't have a car. He eats at Bob Evan's once or twice a day. The man could live on blueberry crepes for the rest of his life, however it isn't the most nutritious thing.......especially with the extra whipped cream.

(Look I can juggle too!)

Doctors appointments at the drop of a hat has kept me scrambling with my job. Luckily, I have a boss who is going through something similar with his parents so he is understanding. Since I work remotely (from home), I have been able to catch up with work early in the morning or late in the evening, but there are still too many days I have taken off to go somewhere or to meet with someone.

So while my life is very much like a circus, I am learning the lessons of raising an elderly child. I am learning that it likely was not easy for my parents to raise me and my brother either. It had its ups and downs, trials and tribulations. I have to think that my parents also looked at child rearing as having a beginning and an end. I did leave home, go to college, got a real job, bought a house and lived on my own after all. I was not a child forever.

Our roles as parent and child have switched. I never thought it would be like this. As they grow older and weaker, I grow stronger. My parents.....especially my Dad.....will not be elderly forever. While there will be more trials and tribulations ahead, I feel satisfied knowing that I will have seen both of them off to their next life after death.

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