1halffull's Blog


Aging Sucks
February 23, 2012, 5:15 pm
Filed under: Aging, Change, Healthcare, Life, Over reaction

Aging sucks.

Why?

Because as you age, people who are not in your age bracket see you as less vital. They suddenly think you’re now unable to chew your own food, that you drive 20 in a 50 MPH zone and that you should stay in after dark.  You don’t dare become ill and need hospitalization because that’s where a real downturn in your life takes place.

I’ve seen it time and again with older friends who, even though they are more lively and interesting than most of the younger people we know, become invisible once they get into a hospital situation.  Doctors and nurses no longer speak directly to them about their conditions.  Caregivers immediately presume that the children now have custody of the parents.  Our friends have been overlooked and treated by the caregivers as though they are nothing but old sacks of bones lying in a hospital bed.  What kind of ‘care’ is that?

The kids are no less guilty in propagating this myth.  They often come on the scene thinking it’s their place to mind their parent’s business.  I know one family who, once their mom broke her hip, decided that meant she needed to be railroaded into doing whatever they decided was best for her.  Yes, a broken hip required surgery and rehab.  But it didn’t affect their mom’s mind nor her ability to go back to real life once she was healed.  The kids have become paranoid over their mom’s safety to the point that they’re trying to railroad her into an assisted living facility.

Unfortunately, they have created a situation where this once strong-willed woman, now questions her every thought.  She speaks and a son says ‘Mom, you shouldn’t say that.’ She wonders if they’re right and she’s wrong – all the time.  Every move toward reclaiming her life, sends the kids into further paranoia.  Faster and faster she’s losing her grip on autonomy.  Thank you kids.

Who is actually on her side?  And who really understands what she’s thinking, how she’s functioning, what she wants?

The family just doesn’t get it:  they think their mom lost her right to live at home when she broke her hip. How dare she!  They no longer see her as a viable human being.  Now she’s become someone they have to put somewhere so she’ll be ‘safe’.  Everyone’s so busy with their own lives, the only room left for her is at the assisted living facility.  Worry over; case closed.  Peachy.

The woman she was has gone missing, hidden by the wants, desires, needs of everyone else.  Unfortunately for her, internally she’s still a viable, thinking adult who wants to live her life in a way pleasing to herself.  It would be so much easier if she was out of her mind, but she’s not.

It’s unfortunate that the kids can’t take a step back from their own paranoia.  Really and truly, no matter what the kids think, this is not all about THEM! Just like this woman could not protect these kids from every single, negative life event, neither can they protect their mom.  Unlike her realization that the kids had to go through things that she couldn’t prevent, these kids refuse to realize that it’s her right to do the same.  Maybe what she really needs to be able to thrive again is for the family to lift the net of paranoia and give her a real chance to show she can still do it all in her own way.  Maybe handing her back her original freedom is what she really needs to be able to get back to normal.

Who knows what could work?  But I wish they’d give her more of an opportunity to regain herself before they dump her in some facility just so they can have peace of mind.

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