Saturday, November 21, 2015

Caring for the Elderly by Sandra Kent

My mom will be 94 years old in December. People say she looks seventy. She has never dyed her hair and I think it still looks healthy.  She has a spark in her eye that says I've lived a good life.  I had a husband who loved me with three children to raise.  She adores her two grandsons who are now in their twenties.

 She is in a facility that gives her 24 hour health care. She has taken good care of her body most of her life and has never had a serious illness.  But when your body is almost ninety four years old it's going to hurt.  The doctor says her heart is still doing fine. Her mom's heart was the same way.  I say it's the Scottish side of the family.  The McPherson's live a long life.

The question is how to make her feel comfortable?  She doesn't like taking pills.  So when she got an infection a shot was the best solution.  The pain pills make her loopy.  She always did crossword puzzles to keep her mind sharp.  She tries to go down to the dining room for her meals.
The meals are the highlight of her day.  There's a backdrop of Texas Cowboys herding cows to eat by .Fort Worth is part of  wild west history.    She sits with her roommate who is from Bosnia.  She doesn't speak English but she has the warmest smile.  I feel I know her intimately even though we have only exchanged small words like," Hi how are you doing?"  She says," thank you," if I give her a treat.  I have no idea what she has lived through but she is nice to my mom and that's important to me.

They share a common window to let the sunlight in.  The cactus is always blooming with an amazing pop of yellow.  Her pink and black teapot that matched her kitchen is a reminder of her home with green leaves growing in the water.  I grabbed the pot from her windowsill kitchen window.  It overlooked a wire for hanging laundry.  Stay at home moms hung the sheets to dry to save electricity.  Every penny was important.   Her home was built in 1956 the year I was born.  It was a time in the United States where children could play in the street and cars would stop for a game of kickball.  I brought her a McDonald's Happy Meal one day and she saved the toy from the box.  Little things bring her joy.   My mom's bed is the closest to the window so she has a view of a beautiful courtyard.

When I visit I stroll her around the halls with her wheelchair.  There are sights to see like yellow canaries in their nest.
They come out to say tweet, tweet.
Little things break the monotony.  Bingo is another favorite thing to do.  Now I point to the numbers and she puts the marker.  Lately she says I can't make it today.  She lies in her bed and listens to her roommates TV.
When I come to visit she always mentions the photographs on the wall.  They are a reminder of her past.  My favorite photo is the black and white one of my mom with a backdrop of white Oklahoma Snow.  She looked beautiful with her dark hair and hazel eyes.  She remembers things like the Chatty Kathy doll I had as a child. She says it's still on the top shelf in your bedroom.  I think why does she always mention the doll when I talk to her on the phone or come to see her?  Maybe it's a way of remembering the times she raised her children.  She's a link to the past.  

As Thanksgiving approaches there will be many loved ones being cared for by facilities. My mom wants to see her home one more time so on Thanksgiving the plan was to pick her up and take her there.  But when I called today she said I don't think I can make it.  Her body is fragile  with age.  She doesn't want to get hurt.   Life is fragile.  Every day on earth is a gift from God.  

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