What To Do About Aging Parents: A Conversation

I have a friend who went through one of the most horrendous cancer experiences I have ever heard of. In the end, she had to spend an extended time in a nursing home to recover. Despite the truly profound, often horrifying, unbelievable health challenges, family challenges and existential decisions she went through on her cancer journey, mostly alone, she said by far the hardest part was the time she spent in a nursing home.

With that as a backdrop, a friend of mine, Patricia T. Sipple, CNA, who is basically a giant heart with arms and legs (as are my many CNA friends), shared this linked story about a family who made arrangements to care for their elderly parents in their own home. https://citygk.site/elderly-couple-see-son-has-turned-his-basement-rec-room-into-a-refurbished-suite-for-them-both-to-live-in/

https://citygk.site/elderly-couple-see-son-has-turned-his-basement-rec-room-into-a-refurbished-suite-for-them-both-to-live-in/ Elderly couple see son has turned his basement rec room into a refurbished suite for them both to live in

One of the most challenging parts of life is when you have children to raise and you have aging parents who need more and more attention. Our nation handles the aging parent differently than most countries around the world. As a function of families spread across the nation, busy lives and a system that does not value families, we often opt for businesses to care for our families.

My CNA friend has spent her entire career dedicated to helping the elderly. She dedicated her life to be a source of caring, of kindness, of support to them in their final years. She also frequently adopts animals to make sure they, too, have a loving and caring home.

After several people commented on that touching story, this is what she wrote. As she is a person very experienced in the process of growing old, I wanted to share it with families who are struggling with the challenges of aging parents. It does seem like our society has lost its way with the family unit, and I hope you will share this with others, discuss it and perhaps open some hearts to a different plan.

Her comment in her words:

“It’s too bad that we have nursing homes fighting for occupancy. I truly wish people would stop them all together.

I am of the belief, that if the elderly were not stockpiled in these institutions like cord-wood, they would live longer, enjoy life far better, and the entire family concept would far better benefit from “family” takes care of “family”. A nursing home is a glorified warehouse, with a waiting list for temporary housing.

Don’t anyone ever argue with me about how nice particular homes are……it is not home, will not be home, could never be home, and to tell someone “this is your home now — -“ is cruel and inhumane in my mind.

The activities that happen, do not happen at home (I have never played Bingo at home in 61 years!). I take a shower when I damn well want to, I change my clothes when I damn well want to. I eat what I want to eat, when I want to eat it. In the wee hours, I wander my house, cause I want to, maybe pick up a snack of what I like on the way, and maybe sit on my couch, in the dark, or maybe put on a jacket, and wander out in my driveway on a quiet night, to look at the stars…….that would NEVER happen if you were in a nursing home…..someone would sound an alarm, and run and grab you, and “help” you back to bed, secure all your alarms, and check on you once in a while.

Or make sure the doctor gives you something to sleep at night, so you don’t become an inconvenience.

Put a nice little alarm pad under you, so that if you try to get out of bed, God and everyone will know it; even if it is for something as private as going to the bathroom.

Please let me die, then to be warehoused, locked in, monitored, hooked to alarms, fed something they call food, told my bed is comfy, when it is a rock, cold and unwelcoming, with scratchy sheets, scratchy blankets, and a pillow best used for a pad, than a fluffy puffy headrest.

Given medication I have no choice but to take, hidden in applesauce (which to this day, I scrutinize it) or receive a shot.

Or wear an elastic pair of paper underwear that takes the place of the bathroom, which is no compensation, when it is wet, heavy, smells, and I may wear that awful thing all night.

I have 42 years of seeing, working, and remembering all the things that no one should ever see, or for that matter vividly remember.

Please anyone considering what to do with an elderly person…..think long and hard. Turn the tables, if you must, to totally understand.

The elderly are finely aged history books, they are resources of what was, they are singers long past, songs long ago sung. They are educators, doctors, nurses, businessmen, mothers, fathers, our grandparents. They are our lifeline, our answers to our questions. They are what keeps things stable, assured and secure.

They are us.” ~Patricia T. Sipple CNA

Please share your comments and experiences both here and with your friends and family. Share this to begin a discussion about “family.”

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