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On Aging

On Aging



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Published by Nancy Williams
A Baby Boomer's take on aging and dealing with elderly parents.
A Baby Boomer's take on aging and dealing with elderly parents.

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Published by: Nancy Williams on Oct 07, 2010
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved


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On Aging
³Getting old is no fun,´ my dad used to tell me, during his last few years, before he died at the age of 79. I always reminded him, ³There are many peoplewho would have loved to have had that problem.´ So many remarkable people, inmy lifetime, never made it to middle age, much less old age. It didn¶t matter if theywere famous wealthy celebrities, or ordinary folks.This remains to be one of the real mysteries of life to me. Who is affordedthe gift of time, and who is not blessed with such a privilege? There seems to be norhyme or reason to it. Many individuals, who were as worthy as anyone, to live along prosperous life, were deprived of that opportunity, in a heartbeat, often at a
very young age. Meanwhile, others, who appear to be the personification of evil,live on, well into old age.A friend of mine from high school and I started emailing one another recently. He and I hadn¶t communicated with one other, since we graduated in1967. We were discussing our high school classmates, who have passed on. To our amazement, there were so many. A number of them have been gone now, for a verylong time.When we were children, my sister, our friends and I used to lament about people from our church who had died, and who were in their sixties: ³At least theygot to live a long life.´ That¶s what we thought back then, when the life expectancywas much lower than it is today. These days, many of us Baby Boomers aredealing with our own aging, plus coping with elderly parents.
Recently, I told my sons that I would want them to try to find another Dr.Kevorkian, if I ever got to the point where I had no quality of life. It¶s like myfriend explained. She was a few years younger than I, and just recently passedaway. After ten long years, she finally lost her brave battle with cancer. The cancer had traveled up her spinal cord, leaving her paralyzed. From her bed at the localHospice House, she told me that the doctor offered to give her treatments, whichmight prolong her life for two months. She opted to not take them, saying, ³Thisisn¶t living.´
It is very difficult to watch my mom¶s quality of life deteriorate so rapidly.She refused to have much-needed knee surgery years ago, and is paying the pricefor that decision. Until recently, she was able to get around on a walker. Now she isin severe pain when she tries to walk. Her legs and feet refuse to move for her,confining her to a wheelchair, totally dependent on someone else. It must beunbelievably frustrating to lose your mobility and independence.Often I am so disappointed with myself, in how quickly I lose my patience,in dealing with her. As a school teacher, I had to practice a lot of patience, so this issomewhat surprising to me, to see how quickly she upsets me. No matter what I dofor her, it seems like she is never satisfied. She questions everything, like why Itook a particular route, driving her to the beauty parlor. The roles have completelyreversed now, for my sister and me, and our mom. The lady, who once bathed anddressed us, now needs our help with those tasks. It¶s obvious that she is souncomfortable, in having to ask us to cut up her food.She is insisting on staying in her own home, even though she falls severaltimes a day. Her face is usually black and blue, bruised from falling. It¶s a miraclethat she hasn¶t broken any bones. People often scowl at me, when I take her out in public. They act as if I had physically abused her. Two caregivers come in for several hours each day, but she really needs around-the-clock assistance. Several of her friends recently moved into an assisted living home, close to where Mom lives.

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Nancy Williams added this note
A Baby Boomer's take on aging and coping with elderly parents.
mike carvell added this note
this great honest terrific perfect write its sad yet True
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