Aging Parents

Sorry I have not had a blog in a while. I have been gone for a week visiting my Mother whom was ill and was put in the hospital and I have gone back almost every other week since then to see her. My Mom, who is 91 years old, does not live in the same city as I do. She is about a 2.5 hour drive away from San Antonio. She lives with my older sister, my niece and her 3-year-old daughter.

I went to primarily see my mom because she was not doing well, and by the sound of it, it seemed urgent I go see her. We never want to think about the outcome of a hospitalization for an elderly parent, or what the next step is, or who will take care of her, or what will happen. You see, my sister has always lived with her, for the most part, since my parents divorced when I was young.
Sure, my sister lived her life, got married, had a child, but always returned home to live with my mom, and stayed with her after she herself divorced many years ago.
The question today is: who is going to take care of my mom while my sister and niece work?

Many children go through this dilemma when parents age and we as children become the parents and care givers. But the question is more serious when the parent, my mom, does not want to go to an assisted living facility or it is not even an option. I know many people by now are thinking, “just place her in a home where she can be taken care of.”
Well, it is not that easy! You see, in our culture, as it is in many cultures, this is not an option. We, as children, would never place our parents in a home, or leave them in a place where they have no family, no friends, no one to really take care of them the way a family member would. It’s a hard decision and one that many people do not understand, but it’s one that we learned many years ago. We have several friends who have placed their elderly parents in a home because they could not care for them, only for the parent to die soon after.

We struggle in our society to care for our aging parents, as we too get older and have more responsibilities: work, children, grandchildren, spouse, household, and other things. We struggle with our emotions as to what to do with the ill parent. We want to give them the best care, but that so-called best care costs money, and is it really the “best” care that they need, want or deserve? I am not saying those homes are bad. I am just saying those nurses and caregivers, as wonderful and patient as they are, are not family and our parents wonder why did we leave them there?

With healthcare and other costs associated with aging, it’s a hard decision and sometimes a decision that is not even made by us, but by circumstances beyond our control. I wish our system and society would come up with a better solution to aging America. It is something that concerns every person, every corporation, every pocketbook. It trickles down to concern all walks of life, despite money, insurance or manpower.

For now, we will continue to struggle to take care of our aging parents, until a better solution is found, one that does not involve leaving them at the hands of strangers to take care of them.

For now, Always Keep the Faith.