Friday, October 14, 2011

Fear of Nursing Homes

So many people of my parents' generation have this overbearing repulsion of going into a nursing home. I've been pondering this. I have to admit that I don't fully understand it.

I do understand the desire not to be in a Medicaid home. To not be in a room with another person who is perhaps moaning and groaning whilst enduring months of reaching death while you have the sense to know it. To not want to live with a functioning brain amongst people reduced to drooling, diapered hulks in a wheelchair in the hall.

What I don't understand is trusting that this will not happen to you. I don't understand not being willing to plan for needing help, getting finances in shape, and not being willing to live in assisted living that assures privacy while also giving needed help. If this is planned for, it doesn't have to be the horror of a Medicaid nursing home.

What I don't understand is insisting on being HOME when your children have lived elsewhere for 3 decades. Or if none of your children in your area have room to house you. Or if all of your children and their spouses work, and none of them can quit work to care for you when you can't.

In my wildest dreams I wouldn't wish on my son what I'm going through with my parents. My first desire is that I just drop dead before I ever am in the straits my parents are in. In conjunction with that, I desire to plan ahead enough to be able to afford a place that allows me a private life while needing some bit of help as I still enjoy living.

If I don't die after reaching that point, I'd like to make sure I'm fed, cleaned and taking necessary medicine while I still appreciate privacy in a room without being surrounded by drooling idiots. After I go past that point, it won't matter.

For my parents, at this point my father is incapable of being safely cared for by me. He has enough sense to know he doesn't like his surroundings. He didn't have enough sense to plan for this happening. I could let him come home, fall, call neighbors to pick him up every time he falls until he breaks a hip or cracks his head open. Then he will be in a hospital for a time, put in a home until he dies before 6 months go by. Six months is the average life span after someone breaks a hip, so I've been informed by an educated nurse with two specialities.

Is that what I should do? If you look at it in one light, I ought to let him be happy and kill himself quickly. In another light, I provide needed but unwanted care to keep from causing his death.

Who gave him the right to assign ME the choice of life or death for him? Answer that, please.

At this point, my mother is incapable of understanding what is happening to her spouse of over 50 years or her own inability to live unaided. The only thing my mother understands is getting up, going to her chair and watching old movies until it's bedtime. Oh, and her horror of going to a nursing home.

When she is bedridden, which I anticipate before her death, I cannot care for her properly. Do I allow her to die from infected bedsores because I can't care properly for her? Do I put her in a home to live for who-knows how many more years because she doesn't die from infected bedsores?

Who gave her the right to assign ME the choice of life and death for her? Answer that, please.

As a not-so incidental to this, pay attention to where your children live. If you only have one child, and that child doesn't live in the same town, consider what hell you wreak with their life. If you have more than one, which child are your going to assign your choice of life and death to? Which child's life are you going to disrupt with caring for you when you can't?

The point is, make your own choices. Plan your own life and end of life.

Write it down. Make it legal. Don't put it on your children. Those kind of choices are unbearable burdens to put on them.

Do it when you hit 70. Revise it if needed if you're lucky enough to hit 80. Beyond that, everyone's thought processes are questionable. It doesn't matter who you are. Period.

Personally, I don't care if you're over 80 and think you're in the prime of life, you aren't. You may live to 100 or 120, but your thought processes are diminished after you hit 80 as things stand in 2011.

Unless you plan for the end of your life, one of your children is going to have to handle it.I have no clue what happens to people who have no children. If you have children, and you don't plan and handle the end of your life, you're assigning it to one of them. They will not appreciate it. No matter how much they love you. They will not appreciate it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Blogger just ate two long posts. Oy.
Points were:
Don't wait til you're sixty, or seventy. Do it now. Today. RIGHT NOW, dammit! If you have kids you cannot do it too early.

Denial/procrastination are your worst enemy. Ok, so maybe it won't happen to you. How about be prepared, "just in case."

My loved ones know what I want, but if push comes to shove it won't matter a bit if it's not written in legalese. Do it. Now. I am.