Baby Boomer Real Story Series
Taking Care of Our Aging Parents
By Jeannie Lange
Taking Care of Mom –
Walking a Fine Line
NEW Baby Boomer Real Story Series about taking care of our Aging Elderly Parents.
This weekly Baby Boomer Real Story Series follows the continuing
experiences of Baby Boomer Jeannie Lange taking care of her aging elderly Mom -
- both the serious and humorous.
This first story gives the background of Jeannie's care giving experiences taking care of her elderly Mom.
You might think that the majority of people want to live as long as possible.
I’d love to see statistics on that – well, maybe not.
You see, I see both sides of the picture.
On one side, I have my mother and father-in-law, 86 and 88 respectively, who despite a myriad of health issues that include TIAs, cancer, diabetes and more, are doing everything possible to live a long full life.
On the other side, there is my mom. At the age of 71 she lost the love of her life, my daddy, to the ravages of Alzheimer’s. Not long after Daddy died, Mom began saying that she wanted to go to sleep and not wake up so that she could be with him. Unfortunately for her she has been, and still is at the age of 94, physically healthy.
Fortunately for her, she has always enjoyed the company of her very large family so while she missed Daddy, she was still happy.
Mom’s mental health has declined over the years and she is now deep into the stages of dementia.
After living 24 years in my brother’s home, the time came when she could no longer be left alone for fear that she would fall and get hurt, burn the house down, or any other thing you really don’t want to happen. She had already broken a wrist and more recently a couple ribs and yet in neither instance could she tell you what happened.
With Mom’s safety on my mind, I left my job of 21 years to stay home and care for her.
I was lucky enough to meet the retirement requirements of my company and also was able to make the transition easier through a severance package lasting almost a full year.
I started out just going to my brother’s to spend the day with Mom while he was working. I was enjoying my time with her but quickly realized that her dementia had progressed to a point where she needed someone to handle her care 24x7.
My wonderful husband suggested we move her into our home and in the span of a week, we prepared a room for her and moved her in, providing my brother some much deserved relief.
So now, five months after I started this journey. . .
. . . I am walking a fine line.
My goal each day is to keep her comfortable and happy. While that includes maintaining her physical health, I keep in mind her wish to join Daddy.
At present, she is fighting a cold. I watch for signs of pneumonia and ensure her comfort through it but take no unnecessary measures just to prolong her life. She is still physically strong and gaining ground against it each day.
But I can’t help but wonder. . .
. . . “Will this be the one that finally takes the toll?”
Jeannie Lange, born in southwestern Ohio, has made her home in Kentucky with her husband, Steve. Their four grown children and their families live nearby. She retired from the insurance industry at the age of 55 to take care of her 94 year old mother 24x7.
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