Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Eldercare, Mom at 93

My mom says that we have reversed roles, that I am her mama and she my child.  She says it as a joke, but there is more truth there than she realizes.  At 93 and a half years old, Mom is surely nearly the end of her days.  Even if she lives to 100, as the surgeon who took out her gall bladder a while ago predicted, she is in her last years.  None of us know when the end of our days will come if we trust God's plan for us, but we can't go on and on forever.

Mom still drives, has passed the driver's test every year.  But, I am hoping, wishing, praying, that she will give it up soon.  She keeps saying every year that she won't take the exam when it comes up again.  She is saying that now.  But, then her birthday approaches and she gives it a try and passes and there she is driving another year.  At 93 she is frail.  Her hearing is declining and her eyesight.  Her thought processes and reaction time are not what they were and decline with each passing day.  Until October when my brother lived in town with her, I didn't worry as much.  If she got into trouble, he would be there to help her.  But, now my sister and I live an equidistant two plus hours away.  A fender bender could become a big emergency.

If she gives up driving, of course, new problems present themselves.  Groceries and appointments and the banking and things she would like to do like the library book discussion and the retired teachers.  I started going to the doctor with her a couple of years ago when she got herself into a big health mess and kept telling me that she wanted to die, but wouldn't call the doctor about it.  Now I can call the doctor.  The trouble is, I have lost a lot of work due to my own health issues this year.  My sister is stepping in for me.  That has been a relief. 

I have made a decision in that regard, I am going to pay my sister and I and our brothers, if they are able to step in, for taking Mom to the doctor.  Mom has some savings. It seems likely that she will have enough money to take her through the end of her life and have a little left over.  To help her keep living and to live happily she needs us to help her.  She likes to think that we do it because we love her and we do, but I have decided, as trustee, that it is time to reimburse those of us who help her out.  It takes away some of the burden associated with dropping everything to help her by driving 5 hours up to Q and back.

I am writing this because I struggled with it.  I had to talk to lots of people and read eldercare materials and pray.  It isn't talked about much.  It is different in every case.  For us, the travel makes it tough, but Mom has made it clear that she doesn't want to move closer. If she lived closer and I could drop in on the way home from work it would be easier, and perhaps the idea of money would not come into it. But, I have come to the conclusion that maybe if there is any money involved, that a money talk should come into it.  The ones who do the most should be paid a bit to help cover expenses.  It helps to remove resentment when the final accounts are settled someday. 





1 comment:

Jen said...

Mary,

What a thoughtful way to manage a difficult situation. Thank you for sharing this part of your life with us. It encourages me so to see how gracefully you are handling care for your mom.

Hope you are feeling better these days.

God bless.
Jen