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God's will be done and may He have mercy upon us all.

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A Catholic who follows Rome & the Magisterium. I'm against gay "marriage", abortion, embryonic stem cell research, euthanasia, human cloning. Altar girls, Communion in the hand, Eucharistic Ministers and "Protestant" music in the Church doesn't bother me at all. A proud American retired submarine sailor. Our borders should be secured with a 10 ft. high fence topped by concertina wire with minefields out to 20 yards on both sides and an additional 10 yards filled with warning signs outside of that Let's get energy independent NOW! Back Israel to the max, stop appeasing followers of the Pedophile Prophet. Pro 2nd Amendment, pro death penalty, Repeal all hate crime legislation. Back the police unless you'd rather call a hippie when everything hits the fan. Get government out of dealing with education, childhood obesity and the enviornment. Stop using the military for sociological experiments and if we're in a war don't micromanage their every move. Kill your television, limit time on the computer and pick up a book. God's will be done and may He have mercy upon us all.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

When do you let strangers care for family?

A little background to this post: My mother resides in an assisted living facility about 2 miles away. She's 85, not quite in her right mind, needs someone to monitor her taking her meds, getting bathed, etc.

I've never even considered having her live with me. Ain't happening, to be honest we never were that close. I maintain contact and visit once every 2-3 weeks more out of a sense of duty than anything else.

But I was raised at a time when you took care of family at home. Putting someone in "the old folks home" was just warehousing them and considered rather despicable.

So theres some inner conflict about the whole setup.

What brings this up is the following article found at via
Death of 91-year-old spotlights line between care and killing

In reading the article I was initially revolted to read of the level of filth in the home. But thinking about it I came to the conclusion that perhaps the niece was just a slob. That isn't a crime. I've known families where filth was a part of daily life. Children from those families grew up just as healthy as those from cleaner homes. Some of those children continued living like pigs, others seemed to become uber neat freaks and cleanliness nuts. But like I said, being a slob isn't criminal, just disgusting.

Regarding the main thrust of the article, I came away with the sense that we'll see more problems of this sort as geriatric medicine improves. Taking care of the very elderly will require an increasingly higher level of medical knowledge, not to mention additional time. John & Joan Q. Public won't have that know how or time at their disposal, so nursing facilities, hospices, etc. will proliferate.

The most any family will be able to do is find the best facility. That would be one where mercy killings won't happen and elder abuse isn't present. It isn't much but its what we can expect when two income families are the norm and a stay-at-home caregiver is a real exception. That caregiver also needs a lot more formal schooling on caring for old folks than was needed in past times. We can pontificate all we want about the decline of personal relationships involved in this, we can decry the inability of society to compassionately care for it's weakest members, it's still a situation to recognize and work with.

Does it sound cold & callous? Maybe it is. Maybe I'm only trying to justify my own choices regarding my mother.

I don't know. But the hyperlinked article proves once again this ain't the world of 50-60 years ago. Someone else can decide if thats good or bad, the rest of us just have to deal with it.


Mary Ellen said...

Does it sound cold & callous? Maybe it is. Maybe I'm only trying to justify my own choices regarding my mother.

It's never too late to rebuild a relationship with a parent, no matter how hold they are, imo. At the very least, it's worth a try. No?

My father in law and I never got along. Not through my fault, really...the guy was just pissed as hell that his son married me and then had the guts to tell his dad that he really didn't want to go to Medical school and wanted to do scientific research in another venue besides medicine. That came as a surprise to me, too, as I was willing to work while he went to Med school.

Anyway, we were married for about 15 years and had three kids before my FIL finally started talking to me (instead of around me or past me). I never gave up before that, always treated him kindly when he visited us. Unfortunately, it was only a few short months after he started treating me like family that he passed away suddenly. I'm glad that we had at least those few months instead of him dying before we could bond with a good relationship. Take advantage of the days you have left, if you can.

That's just a suggestion, I don't know all your family dynamics so I don't want you to think I'm being judgmental.

Subvet said...

Mary Ellen/Nunly, I appreciate the spirit in which your comment is made. As to any rebuilding, for that to happen both parties would need to acknowledge the need for it. THAT has been a failing on the part of my mother even before her thinking ability became impaired.

But I really appreciate your concern, thanks.

Stacy Trasancos said...

Thought provoking. I suppose I'd say, "Never." If someone else has to take care of your family then get to know them. Having said that I confess I don't our own teachers as well as I probably should. But I trust them too. Best wishes for your mother, that must be so difficult.

Subvet said...

Stacy, thanks. The difficult part comes with trying to live up to the ideal of a good son & good Catholic. But life isn't Burger King, we don't get it "our way".

Anthony S. Layne said...

I know something of where you're coming from, Vet. Right now, my brother and sister are looking to hire me to take care of our younger brother, who has a host of problems stemming from Type 1 diabetes (100% disabled). However, we're almost certain that it's a stopgap measure, and that we may have to put him in a state-run facility before he dies. And part of me — I'm ashamed to say it — hopes he does die before we have to do that, simply because I don't have a lot of trust for government-run health facilities. I'm also concerned about the rise of the euthanasia mindset in the medical field.

With Alzheimer's victims, it's a tough call. When I drove a cab in Omaha, there were a couple of people who sent their relatives to adult day care, as kind of a compromise; it gave them some freedom to do other things that needed doing while still keeping their loved ones at home. But neither of them were violent or difficult to care for.

Most Rev. Gregori said...

None of us is in a position to judge others on whether they place an elderly parent in a nursing home or not. My family was lucky in that neither of my parents ever suffered from dementia. We did have to place my dad in a nursing facility four months before his death because being a severe diabetic and a body that just would not cooperate due to age (he was 92), he was a bit more then my mother could handle as she was 81 by then. We all, with the exception of my younger sister who lives in Illinois, were able to visit him every day, and we were there when he passed. But that did nothing to lessen the feelings of guilt, which I still feel today (it has been 13 years since his passing.

In my mothers case, she remained steadfastly independent and in full control of her mental and physical faculties right up until she had her massive stroke last July. She was hospitalized, in a semi comatose state right up until her death the following month at the age of 93, so we never had to make the decision of a nursing home.

Any way, I believe that making that decision is a personal one and is not up to others to pass judgement.

Subvet said...

Anthony, we're seeing a transition from the time when family took care of each other to the bitter end onto a time where it's become so complicated outsiders have to be trusted. Just my opinion.

Subvet said...

MRG, thanks for the kind words. It's a difficult call. Mine was made easier by the fact that my mother DOES NOT want to live with me. So that potential guilt trip isn't an issue, just my own sense of what is right vs. what is practical.

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