My parents are growing older, and I have friends who are grieving for the loss of their parents. Death is suddenly at the forefront of my mind, but not in a frightening way. It is something I must face up to. We will all die eventually. Perhaps we could focus more on how to live our lives as comfortably as possible, even when living with degenerative illness and complex care needs. Due to a serious cycling accident five years ago, my mother-in-law has retired from work and is now a full-time carer for her husband. He spent three years in hospital and rehabilitation centres following his accident, and when he was able to come home, we weren’t sure if we could accommodate it. He needs care. He cannot be left alone, and he cannot be trusted to perform most of the basic daily activities that we all do in our routines. Finding a suitable care home proved tricky. My mother-in-law searched for local facilities and came away feeling dejected. She wanted him to stay at home with her, and he will do for the foreseeable future, but she is having to make dramatic changes in order to accommodate his needs. He is only sixty-four and should be out there enjoying his retirement with his wife. He is too young to go into a care home, or at least that is what we think as his children and close family. But there are options, including TrustedCare.
Most care homes seem prepped to deal with older people, those that are over the age of eighty or have suffered strokes and similar health conditions that render them immobile and in need of quiet space. My father-in-law has an acquired brain injury. We must keep him as active as possible so that he doesn’t waste away. He used to be such a forceful personality, and it hurts us to see him sitting quietly in front of the TV. He was always the one that took us away for holidays and outings, and he rarely sat still for more than half an hour. But now he needs carers. He needs people that are equipped to deal with his mood swings, that can physically help him with daily self-care, and that can encourage him to be active but recognise when he needs to rest. My mother-in-law is doing the best she can, but she wants to be active, and she wants him to be active as well. So how do we find a care home that would be suitable when the time comes? I think that will be a conversation to have eventually, because the accident has aged him by approximately ten years. He is now an old man, having fast-forwarded through retirement, and now needs to be cared for and kept comfortable until the inevitable death finally takes him away. That is a sad prospect, but one that we must live with. As do many other families in many other situations. We muddle through, as always.
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