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yakkygirl

yakkygirl
Location
New York, New York,
Bio
Currently a F/T 47 year old mom of a wild two year old boy, whom we adopted from birth. I had a previous life, where did it go? If you find it, please call me.

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Salon.com
SEPTEMBER 1, 2009 9:38PM

Is It Time Yet?

Rate: 1 Flag

After the last two years from hell, my parents are yet again in crisis. Dementia, heart attacks, panic attacks, nervous breakdowns, steroid psychosis and liver failure are the highlights of 2007-2009. I do my best to manage and keep track of the medical appointments, tests and results by phone from NYC, while my brother and wife, who live near them in Baltimore, manage some of the day-to-day issues.

This latest crisis was a fluke, this time it could have happened to anyone. Oddly, it came at the anniversary of Katrina, my parent’s own personal flood. The sprinkler system in their new (problem-ridden) luxury condominium went off during the night, ruining floors and furniture, not just any furniture, two hundred thousand dollars worth of interior designed built-ins and custom made furniture; This was, after all, the waterfront home for my Mom that said to all of her cousins, “I have the most beautiful home.” The rest of us in the family still shake our heads at this kind of décor craziness. (It could have paid for every grandchild’s full education! We all live reasonably middle class lives.) but there is no arguing with a mother who feels she deserves nothing but the best and a father who wants peace from said mother. I’d like to say it made my Mom happy, but you guessed it, it didn't. I can only wonder how the decorator managed to deal with my mother, since she her dementia makes her very difficult to follow.

Back to the flood, apparently when the fire department showed up, my mother (who is confused at best, lately) was calling for her own mother and worried about “the boys” (her long dead brothers). My dad, who can barely tolerate a change in the way the remote works, is in charge of the nightmare of insurance and contractors, while they live in a tight hotel suite, twenty minutes drive away from their home. (They were barely tolerating each other in 2000 square feet in the condo).

I hate to say it, but I am beginning to hope that this is the end. Not the end of their lives of course, but the end of their independence. What a horrible thing to say, I know. I am saying this because I think its time for them to move to a senior home of some kind.  Selfish on my part? If it were my Dad only, it would be a non-issue; He’s fine on his own, but my Mom is more confused each day and has panic attacks if Dad is out of the house. She has no sense of time, gets lost easily and is paranoid. Did I mention she has undiagnosed Narcissistic Personality Disorder? It’s not easy to have dementia, when you believe that you are never mistaken.

Is it awful to wish them further into old age? Just over the edge, to where they’d be ready to take the next step? That’s what it is, isn’t it? If I had my way, they’d be happily situated in senior complex in a two plus bedroom apartment (like their own, but without the overpriced décor!) where someone could check in on them and make sure they came to the main dining room to eat nutritious meals. (They live on take out, sometimes they eat in and bring home the leftovers, remember to never waste! Yet the food grows moldy in the refrigerator. It’s a miracle that they haven’t had food poisoning). They could socialize only if they felt like it, but could live as they do now, doing their errands and going about their routines. There would be staff there, in case of an emergency at night, and when Dad needs to go to his cardio-rehab class, Mom would have someone who could reassure her that he hasn’t been gone for three hours, but just 30 minutes.

I have examined the options in their town, senior living, assisted living, 55+ communities and home nurse. There is no good option yet (or even one they will consider).  I have begged them to discuss living wills and all the rest. They refuse and even their will is a secret matter. It is their way of doing things (secrets  that is) and I am exhausted from prodding (begging) them to plan for their future.

I read a great article on Katrina that touched on the balance of prolonging life and its costs, and I am thinking hard about what I want for myself. I have instructed my husband, written it out (and filled out my donor card.) I can only hope that it will be easier on our son than it is for me.

 

 

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Yakky, I strongly recommend you go to the front page of Open Salon and on the right side you'll find Sally Swift's "Boca Raton Hospital & Grille, Want Fries With That IV?" I think you'll find more than a few similarities. As for assisted living, nobody wants to go there but maybe the decision should be taken out of her hands. Hey, she's got dementia. Maybe she'll get there and think she's been there all along.
Thanks jfernrn. I commented on that post and that's what got me to write this one! There needs to be a new open call for these posts I think...

I have a friend whose Mom believed that she was at the Four Seasons for the last few years of her life (while she was in a nursing home). Gotta love it.
Yakky--I so relate to this post. Thank God my mom is healthy, but my dad is a mess, and an angry mess at that. Over the years, I've come to realize that he has either Narcissistic Personality Disorder himself or perhaps Borderline Personality Disorder--they're most likely very similar. His rages have always been random, his feelings always someone else's fault, but now he has some serious illnesses, the details of which I won't bore you with.

In a way, it's been lucky that he's been ill, because he really couldn't fight my mom, my sis and I in going to an elder-care lawyer, who did so much of the paperwork that needed to be done in a couple's older years, like living wills. He would have fought that before.

Anyway, my thoughts are with you. Rated.
I know when my grandmother went into a full spiral into dementia, it was a very difficult time. When she slipped like that, she did really dangerous things, and said things, with what seemed like the purpose of being as hurtful as possible. All the while maintaining that she was fine, and we were all out to get her. We ended up putting her into a nursing home. We tried the independent but assisted apartments first, but after she poured a gallon of bleach on the floor and then fell asleep with a lit cigarette in a chair, we knew that she couldn't just be checked in on, she needed to have continuous care.