When I see elderly people in the grocery store or around town, I often try to remove the wrinkles, darken the hair, and imagine that person in their prime. Most likely, that is how they still see themselves. I see school teachers, tireless roofers, high-spirited mothers, and decorated war heroes. Some make me giggle as I imagine them in dance halls or complaining to their husband about the hardwood floors needing to be waxed.
As we age, our sense of self doesn’t change. We are still the same sweet or stubborn person that we always were. It is difficult when health issues interfere with who we are on the inside. Over time, we come to accept limitations from a bad knee, dull hearing, or even the crippling effects of age-related diseases. An older person, however, still has an identity; and, often that identity is expressed in their surroundings more than their physical activities.
If your mother or aunt didn’t have a desire to be in a nursing home when she was 35, then she probably isn’t begging for it at 85 either. Understandably, she may just want to live in the home she established and took comfort in over years. She likes to see the mature landscaping out her window and breathe the same familiar air. She likes the art on the walls, the clock radio she got a good deal on 20 years ago, and the way the sunlight enters the family room in the morning. She is not alone; and, home health care is a booming business as a result.
At times, my own mother has referred to going to “the old folks home” or (when money was tight) to the “county home.” After my recent purchase of a home, I was delighted to hear her talk about me now having enough space to keep her when she gets older. Instead of having joy mixed with anxiety about when that time comes, I know that there are home health care options that match a variety of situations. I can have my mom close to me AND take care of my other responsibilities.
Whether they need hourly or live-in care, highly qualified CNAs can assist in the care of an aging family member, right there in the home. I like knowing that there will be desirable choices for my mother’s care in the coming years. What a great feeling!