Many readers of my blog know that my elderly mom (age 95) has lived with me for more than a decade. For much of that time, she was very independent. She drove until she was 90, and even after she gave up driving, she took cabs to meet friends for lunch. But these last few years, her strength has slipped a lot and caring for her has brought many changes into my own life, too.
A week ago, she went from a brief hospital stay to rehab after having some trouble getting around. On Thursday night, she was preparing for bed and decided she’d like another pillow. There were a couple of them on the shelf in her closet. Rather than calling for help, she thought she could get one herself. Mom isn’t tall, and her posture is slumped forward. When she walks, she looks down at the ground a few feet in front of her. Thus, when she looked up and reached up, it caused her to lose her balance and down she went. The fall broke her hip. Yesterday she underwent surgery. She now has three long pins/screws in her right hip.
It’s so hard to see a loved one in pain, and Mom was in a lot of it yesterday, before and after the surgery. I’ve learned that she has a very low pain threshold. But health care providers must be careful with pain meds for the elderly because too much can cause them to stop breathing. It’s a catch-22.
A few months ago, I discovered a blog about elder caregiving, and it has been very helpful for me to read. If you are caring for an elderly loved one, maybe it will be of help to you, too. And my friend Katy McKenna over at Fallible.com has made me laugh plenty over some of her experiences with elderly family members. Thank God for people whose words of wisdom and humor have helped me along this particular path of life.
And if I’ve learned anything over the past few years of caring for my mom, it’s that getting old isn’t for sissies.