Saturday 4 March 2017

Independence and Dignity

My parents no longer live independently, in their own unit.

Last year, when my mam got very sick and had two bouts in hospital, (very shortly after my dad had finished with his extended bout in hospital) we all decided that it was better for them to move into a Residential Care Home.

 I had dreaded putting this to them.

They took it well.   Both were very quick to respond positively.

I think they were relieved in a way.

It is a different story now, as although still facing a variety of chronic health issues, they seem to be the most mobile couple on their wing of the care home.  They go out on their own, too.  It seems that they are caught between wanting / needing assistance in some areas of their health and well being, yet still desiring to retain independence in other instances.

Plus, their strengths and weaknesses differ.

One would think this fact would be advantageous, but often it is not.

I see and hear and experience their frustration (sometimes anger) with each other. After all, they are husband and wife.  They don't think of each other as residents or patients in their own right.  Their expectations of each other are those of married people, living together in their own home.  Unique responsibilities, specific duties.

Yet, they are not independent and are not in their own home.

It is hard for them to grasp.

"I miss my stuff...." my dad laments
"What stuff"
"My tools, mainly"
"But you didn't use your tools in the unit"
"I did a little.  Not much, but I did"

And mam:

"I actually miss cleaning my own home"
"I never thought I would actually miss cooking my own food, either"

My mam had been taken to hospital two days before moving day.  She left via an ambulance, in her pyjamas.  She was discharged into her new home; her shared (but divided) room with my dad.

That must have been tough.

For both of them.  Dad on his own, in a strange place.  Mam still in that surreal state one experiences for a few days after leaving hospital.

We wanted to make their rooms "homely" and "welcoming", but to this day, they aren't that keen, or interested in the subject. They didn't want photos or prints, personal affects or items of comfort.

I will continue to ask them if they are ready to "sort" another box.....

Sometimes, I think that this must be the saddest time in their lives.

And mine - just watching them.

I long for normality.

And yet, I suspect this may just be the new normal.


English Rider said...

As lucky as you are to have both parents, and that they are mentally intact, this dilemma is real and well expressed.I have only sympathy for what you are feeling, and the suggestion that there must be others out there who have had this experience and can share some ideas that worked for them. Lovely photos accompanying your post.

Mrs. White said...

God bless you and your dear parents!

love and hugs!


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