Why? Because when I started this journey and even today when I speak to others embarking on this phase of life, I find that there is little information out there for those who choose not to have their elder family members in a senior care facility.
Some of our story may be very familiar to you and some may become familiar to you sometime in the future.
My mother and father adopted me a little over 50 years ago. They sent me to school, took me on vacations-our favorite was Colonial Williamsburg. In the summer, they loved having mint juleps in the afternoon out back of the Williamsburg Inn. They took me to swimming lessons and had a pool put in the backyard. Though turbulent at times, we all survived me being a teenager. They cheered me on when I bought my first house and they babysat their grandchildren when they were able.
My father started to decline and after a hospitalization following a bad fall, my mother chose to put him in the nursing home. She dutifully went each day and sat by his side. Rarely did she miss a day. She left the house at 9 am and returned at 5. She started to loose weight and grow exhausted, until one evening on the way to our house after being at the nursing home, she drove into the side of a house. She was fine, other than bruises and scrapes, but the car was totaled. They had their 50th wedding anniversary. That was almost 20 years ago. That winter my father passed away. It was at this point that Grandma, as everyone started to call her, began to need a little more help.
My mother never enjoyed cooking, though she did bake well. With no one except herself to cook for, she would just skip it. She again started losing weight. Most of her friends had moved away and she was alone most of the time. Since my husband worked alot on the weekend, she spent the weekends with us. It was fun having Grandma around. We baked muffins and went out for pizza. My girls loved waking up on Saturdays to have Grandma tell them what it was like during the time period of Katie's American Girl Doll, Molly. Since Grandma loved history, she also told about the time period of Maggie's doll, Felicity.
I am so glad to have those years of enjoying my mother. Now she is almost 93 and requires more care, but she did help me with the name of this website. She said, "Say elderly, not senior. I am elderly and not to be confused with a student. And I need help."