Monday, October 30, 2006


I've been growing increasingly worried in the last year about my family. My dad is 78 and has alzheimers. My mom is 70. My dad still lives at home and my mom takes care of him. They were antique dealers for years and don't have any significant savings or pension. My mom works part time to bring in some extra money.

My dad isn't so bad that his alzheimers would be obvious to a stranger, but he's not capable of taking care of himself.

My worries are many. That my mom might die and my dad wouldn't know what to do or who to call or even realize it for several days. That my mom dies and we (my sister and I) will suddenly have to decide who will assume care of him. That we might have to put him into a nursing home while he's still cognizent enough to realize it and hate it and hate us for doing it.
That because my family has no savings, the nursing home will take my parent's house.
That I will be a great disappointment in handling all of this.
I also worry that I'll get the inevitable call some night when I've had too much to drink and can't immediately jump in the car and be where I'm needed.

My dad went through this with his mother. She hated the nursing home when he put her in. He went through a great deal of guilt and depression over having to make that decision. She lived until the age of 97, the last 13 years of her life spent in a home. It was the right decision as she lived alone two hours away and nearly burned her house down a few times, but you still hate to take that last bit of independence from someone you love.

Selfishly and practically, I hope my father passes away before my mother. My mother is still sharp, resourceful and in relatively good health. It would just be so much easier. Unfortunately, statistically, my father's family is the side with longevity.

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