Wrap our parents in wool | Audrey N. Glickman

We wrapped our parents in wool today,
The recommended path
With assistants present day and night,
Despite the anger of our parents.

We wrapped our mom in wool today,
They took away his paintings,
Its sewing and its sculpture,
Despite his vague complaints.

We wrapped our aunt in wool today,
She didn’t want to go.
She say she don’t wanna live
Where everyone is going so slowly.

We wrapped our father in wool today,
His “girlfriend” forbade us,
We know what’s best for longevity
Don’t brag that he’s getting laid.

We wrapped our old people in wool today,
To safely preserve their years.
They keep on crying something about misery
But it is better to ignore their tears.

My friend Joy talked about wrapping people in wool to keep them alive longer, even though it may prevent them from living at all. It is a perfect description of what so many older children of aging parents do.

Over the years I have learned that it is better if a person’s abilities are toned down in any way, we assume the person can do everything as usual until he is clear that she needs help. At this point, we should offer what is needed.

When mom is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, we don’t have to immediately build a fortress around her, hire 24-hour guards, and conspire to lock her up before she’s ready. Everyone’s dementia develops differently and everyone’s life circumstances are different. Changing their living situation can speed up progress.

In fact, changing life situations can be stressful and detrimental to anyone at any time. However, once we become adults and before we get old, we usually make these decisions on our own, in communication with our loved ones. It seems that it is mostly children, the elderly and perhaps criminals who are being forced to change.

There’s an ad on TV (maybe in the area where I live) in which a woman says, “We need to talk about daddy. Throughout the commercial, the siblings say they need to get together and choose a place where Dad is going to live. Not once did they mention that they brought Dad into the conversation. They talk about a nice “retirement” establishment with golf and the ability to bring your dog, apparently the only criteria they deem important to dad.

There are plenty of stories about it. I am sure that you know many elders whose living conditions have been decided by their children. Yes, it is always a good thing to give your children a conditional power of attorney over your affairs and health care. But make sure your wishes are fully understood from the start, because once you are diagnosed with dementia decisions are frozen in time.

of course there are many older people who live only for their children and grandchildren – who do not make a life for themselves except what might benefit their next generation family members. Again, that should be their decision, not the family members, ”unless the elders force themselves on the kids and camp out in the living room. (In fact, my grandfather lived in our living room for a while when I was a child. He slept on a camp bed. Soon he moved into the basement playroom and continued to live. with us. He had, however, made an offer to be one of the first residents of a new seniors’ apartment building. After it was finished, he moved in. I don’t know who made that decision, although the fact that my mom didn’t buy her a more solid bed than our old bed be an indication of her feelings about it.)

Yes, people with diminishing abilities can be a danger to themselves. My mom finally got to the point where she made noodle sandwiches for herself and often burned the noodles. And she absolutely prohibited anyone from entering her home to help her. Then she started to wander. Basically, she had made her own bed and had to lie down in it. She found a happy life in the care facility, although she never forgave me for not bringing her home after her broken hip rehabilitation.

All I’m saying to my kids who might be reading this is that when your parents reach the stage where you wonder about our ability to live in our current situation – and this is especially true if you live in another. city, other state or country – please talk with the people in our lives. Friends have spent a lot more time with your loved ones than you have in recent years.

Medical diagnosis is not all there is to experience. You don’t have to love your parents’ friends, it’s not your choice. Talk to them anyway and get a handle on your parents’ current life before you rush to change it.

We should not wrap our parents in wool, only to destroy their ability to live.

Over the years, I have watched helplessly as caregivers (hired by children) hasten the demise of their patients through mistreatment, neglect, or outright meanness. The brothers and sisters fought for this. I have seen children make the decision that the parent should move across the country to live “close” to them in a nursing home, thereby alienating parents from their community – from their neighbors, friends, congregation, local streets, cafes, grocery stores, places to exercise, familiar surroundings, everything. I saw them separate happy couples who had kept each other young. I have seen them snooping around in their parents ‘communications (phone, text, email, etc.) and making fun of them with their siblings behind their parents’ backs. I have seen them make horrific decisions for their parents on the basis of nothing, when a simple question or two could have clarified everything – a question from relatives’ friends and neighbors, not doctors.

These decisions generally seem to make parents age faster overall. At least from my point of view.

It is almost as if the children are saying “die already”. Nothing they do “for” their parents will help them, except maybe give them a few days or weeks to live, eliminating the risks that parents were willing and willing to take. Take life out of life.

Yet I have also seen a few adult children move across the country to care for their declining parents in or near their homes, shifting their jobs and living temporarily apart from their own spouses, so that this parent is not uprooted from the only home they have known.

You know, I once heard an accomplished, socialite 95 year old man advise his 90 year old friend not to have just one “friend”, for several reasons he mentioned. “Make the most of life,” he said. He gave a good example of this, apparently in harmony with his family.

It’s life. We should live it until we can’t anymore. And it should be our choice to let the kids take over and run things for us, especially in ways we might not have chosen on our own.

Hope my kids are listening. The wool is itching.

Author of POCKETS: The Problem with Society Is in Women’s Clothing (www.AudreyGlickman.com), Audrey N. Glickman is an assistant to a rabbi, with previous experience in non-profit organizations, government, advertising and as legal secretary. Originally from Pittsburgher, Audrey has served on many boards, organizations and committees, championing many causes including equal rights, reliable voting, preservation of the land, good government, better institutions. and understanding and caring for our fellow human beings.

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