Snarkling Clean

Snarkling Clean- because you don't have to cuss to make fun of stuff. Two dedicated readers discuss romance novels- from what made us weep with joy to what made us want to poke pencils through our eyeballs.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Just Me Raving...Skip It If You Want

Life intrudes again. I hate it when that happens. My mother-in-law had a stroke, mild but progressive, whatever that means. She's got diabetes, blind in one eye, has a bad leg from back surgery years ago, had heart surgery last year and from a hip surgery has been in a wheelchair for the last few years. She could stand, with help, and walk a few steps by herself. Now, with the stroke, she can't walk. At least yet. She can speak with just a little slurring, and move both her arms though she's shaky.

Now comes the challenge. My sister-in-law (her daughter) is a physical therapist assistant, and holds out every hope that she can be helped with physical and occupational therapy. But here's the thing: she's 72 years old. Her husband is 76. He's been her only caregiver, but if she can't walk or stand there's no way he can continue that. He can't lift her.

We all live in different cities. We've considered the possibility of moving to their area, but I don't know how much help hubby and I would be since we both work. We could help with cooking and cleaning type things to be sure, but the daily physical and medical care would be entirely out of our sphere. What I think they need to do is sell the house (a huge 2 story they don't really need) and move to an assisted living community. The ones I've researched usually offer a graduated care plan, one where you can move from your own small house/bungalow to a condo or apartment, to a nursing home as your needs change. There is on-site medical care, no big yard to take care of, and cleaning help and meals if you need them. It is still your private residence, but I don't know that she'd buy into it.

She's from the Old School, if you will, the one that states that outsiders don't take care of family. You move family in with you, even if it's old Aunt Ruth who has gone nuts and must be chained in the attic. But times have changed. Is it abandoning her if we talk her into this? I don't think so, but she sure will. My father-in-law is thinking like us; he realises he just can't take care of her anymore. His health is very good for his age, but this kind of thing can wear him out quick.

So I'm thinking of my father, and my stepfather, and what exactly should I do as they age? Is it our responsibility to make these decisions for them? Amazing how you never think you're really going to wrestle with these questions. No one prepares you for this.

But I'm looking into it now so my kids won't have to deal with this when Gary and I age. Sorry for the long and unfunny raving, but it's my blog and I'll kvetch if I want to. Hey Missie- shoot those covers to me, or the titles and I'll find the covers for you. Covers you actually like are harder to find than you think! See you in a few.


Anonymous Kaitlin said...

Robyn-I empathize with you more than you know. My grandfather had a stroke 16 years ago that has now gotten to the point where he's a living vegetable. My grandmother takes care of him herself and refuses to put him in a home. It's caused a lot of stress and frustration on my family's part, so I can completely understand where you're coming from.

One thing I would suggest, even though it's really hard, is to have your family members create living wills for themselves with their wishes clearly stated. You don't want to do something that's going to make them unhappy & miserable just because it works best for you. That sounds harsh, but I've been there.

On a happier note, I'll be getting your prize today, so look for it in the mail. I'm so sorry it took so long to get to you. :) I've been poor and busy, which is always a really bad combination.

3:46 PM  
Anonymous Michelle said...

Hugs to your mother-in-law. Here's hoping you can find the best of care for her, whatever that ends up being.

5:49 PM  
Blogger Bernita said...

There is no perfect answer and the decisions are hard and sometimes bitter.

2:35 AM  
Blogger Missie said...

Aww, honey. I am sorry to hear about Gary's mom. I hope she gets better soon and that she and her husband make decisions based on what they NEED to do, not necessarily what they WANT to do.

It is a tough position to be in, raising kids while taking care of aging parents. We have already told our folks, "Kay, you guys know we're broke right? So you guys are planning ahead, right?" in hopes that they will take an active role in preparing for their own future.

And had a wave of sickness here at the homestead, so will try to get the covers to you when I can.

2:06 PM  

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