Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Trip to Bountiful

It has been decided.  When Chris and I become so senile that we can’t take care of ourselves, our daughter and son -in -law will take care of Chris, and our son and daughter- in- law will take care of me.  What this means is that Chris will live on a boat near a shop.  I will live in a nursing home.  You might ask why we have made these decisions so far in advance?  This is because of the trouble we had with our parents. 

It all started to go downhill for my mother-in-law when she retired. With my mom it started when I got married.  Then on top of that my father-in-law came down with cancer.  Chris is an only child so the care of his parents was his job.  I lost my sister to cancer so the care of my parents was shared between my 3 brothers and me.

The last 10 years of our parent’s lives were tough on all of us.  As in parenting, you can read and read, but when it comes down to it there is no perfect parenting, as there are no perfect parents.  When caring for the elderly, no matter how many books you read, or how much you seek wisdom from God, it all comes down to a learning, or you might say a strengthening experience.

During the time of their decline my parents lived in California and I lived in Washington State.  I would get letters from my mom saying that my brother and his wife were abusing her.  She said that she was starving.  So of course we had food delivered to her and sent prayers and advice.  I suggested that they talk to their pastor, which they did.  But still my mom complained.  The biggest help to me was when my dad wrote a letter to me saying that everything is fine and that I shouldn’t worry.  I took that as advice from the Lord through my dad.  But it is easier said than done.

My parents owned 2 homes and wanted to live 6 months in each.  But, when they were living in their summer place, a woman from their church let us know that my dad was falling, and that they should be moved near to family.  My mom said, “We’re too old to retire.”  She was disappointed that they couldn’t continue to live in their summer place.

During this time I watched a movie called “Trip To Bountiful.”

In it an elderly woman was living with her son and daughter-in-law.  She wasn’t happy living there and she just wanted to go back and visit her hometown one last time.  The town was called Bountiful.   Finally when she couldn’t get any help from her son and daughter-in-law she managed to ride the bus back there.  She found out that her good friend had been able to stay in her own home, and that she had died while out in the field on her tractor. 

So this is my conclusion.  If a person is in their right mind let them live as they want to.  Don’t worry if they are out on a tractor.  Don’t nag or fret about them. If someone lets you know that they need to be moved then move them.  But if no friend, neighbor, or church member thinks they are in harms way then leave them alone. But of course those who have become senile you can’t leave unsupervised. Pray about everything and God will help you through. 

What advice would you give to those who seek to care for the elderly?

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