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The Dilemma of the Aging Parent

Updated on April 25, 2011
Always kept busy.
Always kept busy. | Source

She opened the front door at 11:00 A.M. and screamed at the top of her lungs, Jeanna, Jeanna, I'm hungry. Where is my breakfast?, I need it now!" Abruptly, Jeanna stopped pulling the weeds from the front garden. The serenity and beauty of the cool morning air had been broken. At least she was able to enjoy the last hour of gardening in the back yard. She was once again proud of the walkway around the pool.

Earlier, her daughter brought her back to her house because she was screaming , crying and out of control verbally and mentally. When Jeanna answered that phone , yesterday afternoon , she wondered , Had she been robbed? Maybe someone tried to pistol whip her? No, her personal assistant did not show up this Friday morning and did not even call. Her world was falling apart because this eighty year old woman thought, she was not going to get her weekly bath.

Upon receiving the phone call, Jeanna dropped everything she was trying to get done and dutifully drove the 20 to 30 minute drive on a major interstate highway to address the current crisis. Was she shocked? Not at all. Was she surprised ? Not really. Was she worn out from the number of times she had to respond to these so called crises lately, absolutely. But from the tone of the old woman's voice she knew she had to go up to solve this 'crisis'.

For Life
For Life | Source

So many thoughts were spinning through her mind. The frequency of the outbursts was increasing; yet the woman wanted to continue to live in the high rise.  After all, her husband had lived with her there.

Six years earlier, a week before 9/11 she buried her life's partner. She shared over 50 years with him and six children later, she still loved him dearly. Gradually, she adjusted to life alone. Jeanna showed her how to set up her check book and she dutifully paid her rent; the electric and her cable bills. She eventually was able to balance the check book. She reveled in her victory.

During her five years alone, she enjoyed all the holiday parties; joined a rosary group and never missed her weekly bingo game. She won often and gave away the small prizes she won.

Her health was very good for an eighty year old. With each passing year, her osteoporosis was more painful . She eventually needed someone present in the bathroom to aid her if she fell. But her mind was becoming her biggest impediment.

Croquette anyone?
Croquette anyone? | Source

Recently, she had cursed at her neighbor and a different assistant. She believed the assistant was talking about her when she was supposed to be doing her laundry. She caught her " in the act". She said. She and the neighbor got written up by the director of the high rise. She fired the assistant that day. She was on her way to being labeled a difficult resident.  Now, this latest outburst.  Her daughter knew hard decisions were coming.


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  • fetty profile image

    fetty 6 years ago from South Jersey

    RichJablonski thank you for reading ! My mother became more rigid after my father died. I tried my best but it was never good enough. I still have to admit she taught me a lot about human behavior, though. God Bless!

  • RichJablonski profile image

    RichJablonski 6 years ago from South River, NJ

    Fetty it's very true about an aging parent starting to believe that things are going on behind thier backs. I noticed it when my mother-in-law turned about 83 and it got worse over the next 3 years before she died. Thanks for sharing

  • fetty profile image

    fetty 6 years ago from South Jersey

    cangetthere I am so sorry for all that is happening to your mum. You are a wonderful daughter to be so willing to make so many sacrifices for her. I am sure she has been a wonderful mum to you, as well. Remember to take time out for yourself or your sanity could be at risk. Please see if you could ask for time off at your job, first. Sometimes employers are only to glad to help you when they know the seriousness of the situation at hand.

    God bless you , I am glad you could relate to this hub.

  • cangetthere profile image

    Paula 6 years ago from New Zealand

    Your hub caught my eye as my mum has bone cancer and I help her for on average 5 hours a day.She recently after treatments got extra sick so I stayed the night and she collapsed and I had to call the ambulance.She came out of hospital last monday night and I have stayed with her all week.She is feeling better and walking ok again at the moment but I now need to travel too town twice a day to get meals help with P/C etc and I shall stay 1 or 2 nights a week.As she gets worse I shall move back in.It is hard, tireing and stressful and I had to quit my job so I worry about money now.Although it is good to be there for mum.Point is I can really relate to your hub.Thankyou.

  • fetty profile image

    fetty 6 years ago from South Jersey

    Dear BobbiRant I appreciate all the fine work you do with the elderly. I may even pursue this type of work as a second career; however, if you read my other hub about stand-in mothers you may better understand my feelings toward my own mother. I took care of her until her final eight months and WHEN I got sick she disposed of me so fast. My kid sister took over and made a huge mess of everything - even my mother's clothes. But mom got what she wanted. Believe me, she always did!

  • BobbiRant profile image

    BobbiRant 6 years ago from New York

    Having worked with the elderly for more than 20 years, I can attest to the fact it is very difficult, this mind thing, for many loved ones. My own parents are gone now, but I cared for each of them for many years. To me, it was a labor of love, recalling they were there for me when I was a difficult child. I hope all works out for you both.

  • fetty profile image

    fetty 6 years ago from South Jersey

    howcurecancer thank you for stopping by. I might continue writing this story if this piece is well received. Aging is a really tough thing to live through. Some people handle this gracefully and others...

  • howcurecancer profile image

    Elena@LessIsHealthy 6 years ago

    One vote up, I really like your hub.