Preserving Integrity

With Respect for the Elderly

Yet another obstacle stands in the way of progress. Some folks may find reward in a challenge, but I’m certainly not one of them. Especially if making a decision is on the itinerary. A solution to me must be painless, minimal risk, and be a perfect fit to everybody involved. If it isn’t, my focus is easily distracted by the opinionated, louder voice.

I have managed to stumble my way through life rather painlessly in spite of myself, but there’s still the ongoing test of time to consider. I remember thinking nothing would ever be tougher than raising my children to be, well… what they are.  Nobody knows how to be a mother, you learn as you go, and hope the combination of common sense and human nature guides you.

Now, the shoe is on the other foot, and my common sense is having serious conflict with human nature. My role as a daughter is on strange new territory, and everything I was brought up to be, is testing what I’m not sure I am.  For the sake of my elderly parents, it’s up to me to be stronger and wiser than they are. But having compassion for their integrity may be just as harmful as denying them their freedom to decide.

Determining the quality of life for anyone is a tough call, sometimes even for ourselves. Little things like responsibility, finance, or illness play a substantial role in the path we take.  Oddly enough, what is simply comfortable is often an acceptable definition of happiness by most.  But as folks climb into their final years, comfort is based largely on routine. Home is the safe place and nobody can argue it’s the best place to be when sick or just plain wore out.

I’m not sure it’s my job to decide anyone’s comfort or happiness until I’m asked to. My parents aren’t sick, they’re old. Perhaps I should concentrate more on what they want, rather than what I think they need. Nature has a way of taking care of itself, same as questions have answers…  when there are ones.


15 thoughts on “Preserving Integrity”

  1. I’ve been going through the same with my Dad, mentally sharp as a tack, but pain and ill health created a serious problem with mobility. He too wanted to live at home, and felt there was no need for a care taker or someone to assist him. Over time though, with gentle comments and his own awareness of the situation, regardless his initial desires, he came to the same conclusion my brothers and I did. He was not happy at first, living in an assisted living facility was not how he saw his life. But with frequent contact and visits from family, and using the same tenacious spirit he taught he, he has come to love the place and all the friends he’s met. It’s a tough choice, but it can turn out well in time.

    1. Thanks for positive outlook on this difficult subject. It is a tough time, for everyone involved. Glad to hear you visit your Dad and help him through such a huge transition. 🙂

  2. that last comment was from me but it didn’t put my identification: wingsofwonder

  3. Alot depends on how well they take care of their own affairs and if they are a danger to anyone. My dad was mentally sharp but developed center blindness. He was determined to live in their house and the eventual move came in stages: first getting help in the home a few hours a week, meals on wheels delivering food…that kind of stuff. Mom and dad worked as a team. And it worked for awhile.

  4. It’s so hard to watch our parents grow older and to know what’s best for them. I was lucky in that my dad was able to stay in their house until he passed on and my mom was willing to move to a retirement home when the house got to be too much for her. Praying that things work out as well for you and your parents.

  5. It is a difficult road to walk when this stage of life comes to you through aging parents – but I am sure you inate wisdom will guide you through…

  6. Amy Elizabeth—my husband and i are going through those sorts of issues with our moms. They both live at a distance. The burden falls on some of our brothers who live in the same towns they do. Some of the brothers think our moms should go to an independent living facility. Our moms are content to stay in their homes. It is hard to know what is best for them, or how to handle it all. I wish i had answers. i pray for wisdom. it is strange having to look to the future (their futures) and try to figure out what is best for their emotional well being, too—not solely just tasks that are difficult for them to do for themselves.

    1. It is all very hard, sure sounds like you understand the obstacles. I wish you and your family the best. Somehow we will all manage, because we have to!

  7. There are no easy answers and you are doing the absolute best you can. Have faith that you will do right by them and don’t let anyone else tell you differently.

  8. When you were a child, did your parents strictly supply you with what you needed or what you wanted? It seems a wise ballance between the two was what was offered to you because of how fine of a person you turned out to be. With the rolls reversed, pray for the same wisdom your parents had. That same wisdom will see you through the bumpy times ahead.

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