A little late with this today. It’s Mum’s birthday, so a-visiting I did go, and I’ve only just got back home.
My parents are getting old. At the risk of stating the obvious, with every year that passes they’re another year older.
They still travel, they still have a car, they still have opinions. They still have energy and enthusiasm. They still have control over their life. They don’t need help with shopping or cleaning or gardening.
I don’t want to say ‘They’re doing everso well for their age’ – that sounds so patronising, and they don’t need to be patronised.
This was just an ‘ordinary’ birthday, but next year will be a big one – what do 90 year olds generally like to do on their birthdays??
They are doing very well, but the way I act towards them is changing. I’ve had to become more patient with their forgetfulness – it isn’t something that’s going to go away. I’ve had to accept that changes to routine, things that are out of the ordinary, or unexpected, are now harder for them to cope with.
I’ve started to think about the options for ‘later’ – would I have them to live with me? Could they relocate closer to where I am? What do they want? How much help could they get with day-to-day living? Should I move closer to them?
As an only child, it will, eventually, fall to me to get all this sorted. I want to be sure that they are content. I know they would prefer to stay in their own home for as long as they possibly can – but I also know that circumstances might prevent that. Moving them closer to me would make my life easier – but it’s not about me, it’s about what’s best for them.
They’ve lived in their home for very nearly 50 years. They know every inch of it. They know where everything is – not just in the house itself, but they know the shops and the nice walks, and the places to visit. I think moving them out would befuddle them. I can see a time when they need help in the house and in the garden – but I think the overall aim has to be to keep them in that house for as long as possible.
Sometimes you have to accept that the dog is just too old for learning new tricks.
It’s a gradual change – from a child/adult relationship, then adult/adult, then slowly, bit-by-bit, you realise you’re the one doing the looking after. Checking that they’re managing. Everso discreetly. Not wanting them to think that you think that they can’t cope – but equally not wanting to not notice when the time comes that they can’t, in fact, cope.
Happy Birthday Mum.
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