Caring for elderly parents, blog #2

Walking a dog is very rewarding

A real blog, 15/09/2018. 11:07

Well here I am sitting at my parents house, my Mum’s staying in a seafront Hotel in Eastbourne on a dancing holiday with her girlfriends, she’s 73 years young! Holly the doggy collie is sitting by my side (annoyed because she’s hungry) as I tap away at my laptop on the dining room table, and my father is sat in the living watching the television, ‘Bargain Hunt’ to be exact, one of the many daytime TV shows dished up in a schedule dominated by gardening makeovers, game shows and cookery programs.

(Shaking my head in despair lol)

For heavens sake I’ve just watched one where this expert chef ‘cook’ in inverted commas cause I think that’s debatable, shows the viewers how to make Quail curry? WTF………….. daytime TV sucks, and such a great reason for not watching television full stop…………. that’s unfair, let’s say in moderation?

I’m asking you, is this mind numbing brain fodder being served up to residents in old people’s homes up and down the country healthy?………… So sad that intelligent elderly people are placed into these institutions, through no fault of their own and yes I know they receive great care, but I’d guess they have little choice than to watch these shows with chuckling happy presenters and even more excited game players………….. lol ‘Homes Under The Hammer’ is another one, the dictionary definition of light entertainment!

So why am I residing at my parent’s home, and note I’m neither feeling glum resentful or bitter (don’t judge me I’ll return to this theme), no all you really need to be aware of is my father has memory problems, is unable to care for himself and my mother needed a weekend away with her girlfriends so I’m being the dutiful son and moving back home ahh lol…………. no I am most definitely not resentful, she’s having fun and me living with Dad is ok except for crap telly.

Thank the lord for Wi-Fi, the internet takes some tongue lashing and justified criticism but log in and you’ll always find something worthwhile reading, and it’ll lol keep me sane what with reading blogs and keeping up to speed with people’s latest posts oh and watching boxing news videos on YouTube (so funny when Promoters Eddie Hearn and Frank Warren back and forth keep slagging each other off………… viewing life’s not so bad!

Anyways my father’s asked if I’d go down the fish and chip shop for supper…………… to be continued!

©A. Shepherdson 2018

36 thoughts on “Caring for elderly parents, blog #2

  1. Old people’s homes????? Really??? That is agism, my friend!

    I live in a 55 and older condo community and I am NOT old!!! BTW, Those communities are so much more economical than keeping up a giant sized home when the kids have flown the coop and the hubby has passed on. No, I am not in my 70’s like your mom, but even if I were, I still wouldn’t consider myself old.
    I can tell you that the people I know who are in their late 60’s and early to mid 70’s are living vital, full, exciting lives. Heck, all the rock icons are aging and they aren’t over the hill yet.Just watch Mick Jagger in concert!

    I’m retired from teaching and each day when I get up, I have my morning cup of coffee,go onto my laptop or iPad Pro, and check my FB page, my twitter account, my blog, my emails, and jot down ideas for the a new chapter in my novel. Then, I usually write an assessment on one of my social media sites of what our ridiculous excuse for a President has done to destroy democracy and move on from there. Sometimes, I write in my blog, while still lingering over my coffee, and other times I get back to work on my novel and plug forward to finish another couple chapters.

    But, I NEVER watch game shows. I hate them. I may watch CNN, MSNBC or something relevant to see what is happening in the world so I know what is going on before I venture out on my errands. But no silly shows. I do confess I have a weakness for Judge Judy and so I record her and watch when I have a chance.

    I am very, very sorry your father is having memory problems. That could happen to any one of us, and he is fortunate to have your Mom and you to help him through it. I don’t envy either of you as that can’t be easy. But that doesn’t mean your parents are old. In fact, people in their 70’s are relatively young. My older brother is 72 and he is still very cool. And my younger sister just retired this year and now we get to see each other much more often. We Iive in different cities but speak daily and talk about our Tai chi classes, download new books to read each month and we drive and meet for lunch to discuss them in a book club we belong to.
    But seriously? To reduce the interests of middle aged people to Brain numbing fodder???? I don’t think so!!! Notice I said middle aged not old… or elderly. I told my children I can not be referred to as old until I hit my 70’s but I have decided recently that I am raising that age to 80. Today people over 50 are more computer savvy and more vital than ever.

    I am involved with political groups and get together online and in person to change the political climate happening in America. I teach poetry in my grandchildren’s classrooms. I write lessons for the school board and I am in my 60’s. My profile picture on this site was taken about a couple years ago on my laptop so it is pretty current and I don’t think I look or act like an elderly person. (Well, maybe when I have the flu.) What I am trying to say is…. I call myself a “Junior” Senior. I am still vital, important, and able to contribute to society in a positive way and can still change the world. And so can your mom. Do not underestimate women of a certain age.
    I am paraphrasing, but Gloria Steinem said something to the effect that “Men become more conservative as they age and women become more adventurous, open minded, and rebellious. Some day the world will be run a bunch of gray haired ladies!”
    So my friend, NEVER refer to senior communities as old folks. We love, we laugh, we drink, we dance and we have sex. YES! We still raise hell.
    The Peace, Love, and rock and roll generation will never grow old!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes Lesley you are so right, I think I’ve been a little (very) clumsy with my writing and I’ve lost my direction in translation………… 🙂 the word old will never appear on my Blog again. I have to walk the dog in a second because she lol won’t let me rest but I WILL address your points as best as I can within a post, and thank you I very much appreciate the thoughtful feedback because that’s why we blog. Thank you Andrew ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. While you are watching your dad, use the time well. Just turn off the telly and spend quality time with your dad, talk to him, allow him to talk to you. You will find that the memories do not all go at once; he may surprise you with the tales he can tell.

    Liked by 2 people

    • 🙂 Hester to plagiarise Bill Clinton’s response (excuses) for his affair with Monica Lewinsky, “I have been less than contrite with the truth”, I’m afraid my father is a little past that now, heart breaking to watch but his memory loss is quite severe but he’s happy enough in his own little world. Btw Lesley ‘up top’ has written a very thought provoking reply which I will enjoy addressing. In my defence every weekend I visit my parents, I don’t actually do a great deal of work except listen to the things Mum has gotten up to that week, look at photo albums, talk about the family and basically chat over a coffee and lunch. Anyways she’s happy to chat and I’d guess prefers the company rather than just coming to do jobs around the house, you’ll understand what I’m trying to say :). Andrew.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Hi all. I got up late today so I’m just seeing your responses. Perhaps part of my answer is that I was trying to explain that as we age our bodies may start to change but if we are fortunate, our minds don’t.
    In my head I’m not much different from the young girl was when I wrote poetry, listened to Bob Dylan and played guitar in a rock band. If I hear a great song from the 60’s or 70’s suddenly I’m dancing and singing. Just the other day while I was out and about, the sun was shining brightly. (Since I live in a South Florida that happens a lot). I rolled down the car window when Jimi Hendrix’s Purple haze came on the radio ( I still like listening to the radio in my car, it’s nostalgic,) and so there I was, sitting in traffic, listening to music, feeling 17 or 18 again. The car started up again, my window open, my long hair blowing wildly about as if in sinc with the rhythm, and in my head, I felt like I was back in 1968 at Miami pop festival (which happened a year before Woodstock). I saw some amazing bands but I got to see and hear Jimi Hendrix play. Suddenly Sites and sounds came back to me while I listened to him. In a flash I recalled The sea of young people sitting on the ground, the scent of pot wafting in the air and an am extraordinary guitarist. All those memories came flooding back. And I felt like a teenager, not a grandma. You see we don’t age inside. I’ll try to further explain.
    I will never forget seeing my late mother looking in the mirror, frowning and saying, “I don’t know who that old lady in the mirror is.” I asked her what she meant. She told me, “Inside, I’m 20 but nobody knows that but me. I don’t feel like an old lady I just look like one”.
    I was a young mother at the time and thought she wS batty, but now I totally get what she meant. Once we become who we are, we are pretty much the same person.forever. We grow MORE in wisdom as time enriches us. But, we are a compilation of memories and years and essentially the same.
    My younger son totally understands that. My older son, not so much.
    * Try playing your father’s favorite songs or music from his era. Music helps trigger memories and will make him happy.
    So…. I was probably too harsh because I’m struggling with this aging thing. I feel more vibrant and alive than ever. More confident in myself and my opinions, and yet I’m considered irrelevant by millennials. Well people my age don’t want to be irrelevant because we aren’t. That’s all.
    I remember after divorcing my first husbands was in my 20’s and a colleague want to fix me up with a guy in his 30’s. I told her “No way, that’s too old.” Of course it wasn’t but I was too young to understand that.
    So your parents aren’t old. Age, if you’ve got your memories, is one hell of a great ride….

    Liked by 2 people

    • I hear you Lesley, and I only just said something similar on the previous post.. Yes we may be getting on in years but inside we are still those crazy teenagers.. 🙂 And you may often find me having a ‘Mad woman’ moment as I jig around the kitchen to rock and roll.. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  4. First I think giving your Mum a break is wonderful of you.. No one understands how difficult it is looking after someone who has memory difficulties.. So well done for allowing her room to let her hair down..

    My in-laws were both in a nursing home together for years until their passing.. But prior to that my husband was also a dutiful son and along with his siblings took turns to stay over night and he did this once a week for over two years travelling 70 miles to come home to go to work the next day..
    They both needed night care as they would get up and wander and try to put the gas on and kettle etc.. And it wasn’t until his mother broke her hip one night while one of his siblings was watching over her that plans had to be put in place for more permanent and professional care..
    So I understand how draining it can be for your Mum.. And hard too as memory loss often means repeating yourself.. And loads of patience..

    My Dad was only 68… when he was diagnosed with lung cancer he was living on his own, and both my and my sister went to live with him on his returning from hospital.. caring for his needs until his passing..
    We both left our families,, And luckily I had a great boss who gave me time off work as he too lived a distance away from my home..

    I think looking after our parents in this way, can be turned around to be viewed as an opportunity.. One to get to interact again with our parents, even if their memory is not all that good, or health issues… And two, to create happy memories.. Making them laugh.. I still hold these memories close in those latter days of caring ..

    As for TV… If you Dad is enjoying it.. what the heck.. And yes TV is often turned more off than on in our home.. but its all about choice..

    Sending thoughts your way, 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sue that was beautiful. I think there is a whole different aspect to caring or illness as opposed to aging. My late husband died at 55 from pancreatic cancer. So illness and age are two very different issues. I also had to help and assist with my sister in caring for my father who was sharp as a tack but fell just shy of 90 and passed from blood on the brain. My mom was only 76 when she died of cancer. So yes, I’ve done my bit too. I’d probably want to watch non stop Doctor Who episodes if I were ill but yes, you make the person comfortable and happy. My take was Andrew has to understand that age and illness are separate issues. Now that I’m in that strange undefined age bracket… I’m not young but not old yet, I have to champion rights for us “junior seniors” so we don’t become an unvalued part of society when we still have much to offer.
      And yes, his mom definitely needs breaks. Caring for someone with health issues is extremely difficult.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for a wonderful reply 🙂 I’ve enjoyed reading your experiences, several times, and most certainly I will again. Looking after ageing parents is both a social and political story which will dominate our lives for years to come, but there you are I’m a positive person by nature so as a family we’ll manage, and I’m coming around to the opinion keeping one’s mind active is the golden key to a happy and fulfilled retirement. 🙂 TY

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Im fortunate that my dad has his mental health, and can come and go locally. It was a bit of deja vu moving back into his home (and my old room) to help him care for the house. Hip, prostate surgery and 3 stents slows him down so he needs assistance with home maintenance. Yes, he watches the game and cooking shows. Im grateful for wi-fi and the desire to write.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I am sorry to hear Lesley that you lost your husband at such a young age.. I love the term ‘Junior Seniors’.. 🙂 May you continue to enjoy life to the max and yes we still have much to contribute to society..
    Take care..
    And thank you Andrew… For allowing us to debate this sensitive issue of age and how it can affect us all differently.. .. 🙂
    Sue 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you Sue. I’ve learned that we have to take like as it comes. I feel very lucky in the scheme of things. Plus, I have the philosophy that what happens is pretty much what was meant to happen. We can’t control the Universe, therefore we have to make peace with it. I wouldn’t change anything. I had two wonderful sons. I have 3 incredible grandchildren.i e had an amazing career. And while loss and heartbreak is tough at first, it gets easier. And like Tennyson said, “‘Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”
      Now my life is focusing on myself and trying to make this world a better place. ✌️And yes, Andrew had no idea what his blog opened up…

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Very interesting post!
    I am an activity coordinator for the elderly.It’s an amazing role due to being able to spend actual time with very interesting people. It’s so lovely having a job description of providing emotional, intellectual and social stimulation.

    I find it very important to make everything I create and plan is things that they have enjoyed in past. I research and have personally enjoyed learning about decades I wasn’t born in.

    Liked by 1 person

    • My mother meets with people who work in elderly care, I’m not sure if I have the patience however as I’ve written in my blog serious, caring for my parents is something I’m going to have to get used to in the future…………..…. I must stop by at your blog and have a read, and thank you. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • My mother in law has just became ill and needing home care. As we wait for social work to pull finger out there backsides myself & sister in law are splitting the care work. It’s hard seeing someone your used to being in full control to no control of certain parts of tgem. What I keep reminding myself it’s because of our parents live&patience with us throughout all our lives it’s in my opinion it’s common decency and respect to do same with them when needed!

        My blog rather new my aim I suppose is just mainly a diary style of juggling life as a mum and wife. It’s becoming a very good therapy for myself!

        Liked by 1 person

        • I’m sorry to hear your mother in law has become ill, and yes it is depressingly hard to watch a parent’s health deteriorate. My father used to be a schoolteacher also a witty thoughtful man, now conversation with him has all but stopped and he hasn’t pulled a novel out of his bookshelf in years……….. heart breaking to watch. But yes you have to be positive, or be patient as my mother tells me!!! But I fear my father requiring around the clock care isn’t that far away………. 🙂 I’m ready to play my part in this final chapter of his life.


          • I couldn’t bring myself to like this comment as heartbreak reading about how your father has changed due to the awful disease. Do you read to him? If you don’t you should consider it as I think will bring joy to both of you!

            I must admit it’s nice showing my mother in law another side to me as a carer as I feel she has gained a new respect for me if that makes sense and nice to be able to prove myself as a family member now and not just the wife lol

            Liked by 1 person

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