As Bette Davis once said, "Getting old is not for sissies." I spent my mom's last years near her, and I witnessed her experiences. I saw her change from a confident person who had been head of a high school English department and president of several organizations to a person who had to resign from volunteering at the public library because she couldn't remember to go in on the days she was to work.
She became more shy and rarely went out anymore except with me because most of her friends and her sister had died. Her hearing was dependent on wearing hearing aids, and it seemed the batteries would die at the worst times. This made it hard for her to communicate with others and she felt very isolated and lonely when I couldn't be with her.
Fortunately, Mom never had to go to a convalescent home such as the one in the photo. I took this picture when our church members were caroling there at Christmas. It is not a happy place, and I suppose almost everyone is afraid they will spend their last days there.
When Mom became terminally ill, she chose to stay at home with help from Hospice, me, and the people I hired for her 24-hour care. I lived only seven miles away and spent as much time with her as I could in those last weeks. I'm glad I was close to her and that we could grow closer emotionally during her last years. I wrote more about our mutual adjustment to her aging in this article: Caring for a Dying Loved One. You also might want to check out another article I wrote:What to Expect When You Grow Old.
I am currently over seventy and am beginning to have to deal with some of the issues my husband and I have as we age. We have no children to help us and no other family close to where we live. We will prepare as best we know how from what we learned caring for our parents and pray that God will help us get through the challenges we will face.
What about you? Are you aging or helping someone who is? Feel free to share your experiences or advice in the comments here.
Note: On the first day of the month, those in the Daily City Photo Blog network write on a common theme. For March 1, it is Aging. See what other bloggers around the world posted on this theme.