Tuesday, July 17, 2012

No Great Choices

Ha - you thought I was going to talk about the election, right?  Nope, I'm going to talk about what we did this weekend.

We flew up to Hartford, CT and then drove to a little town called Agawam (a suburb of Springfield, MA).  That's where my 96 year old grandmother lives.  Born in Iowa, spent most of her life in east Texas, she moved to Agawam to a very nice senior community about fifteen years ago.  Until last summer, she was doing fine living there but then she fell.  Climbing your way back to "good health" at her age is daunting and the senior community requires its residents to be very self-sufficient.  Because she requires "skilled care", she had to move to a different facility. Although she has recovered very well from the fall, can't go back there due to the "skilled care" designation (i.e. someone has to adjust her cervical collar and administer pain patches!).  In the old place, she had an apartment with her own things. Now she shares a room separated by a curtain. She is in remarkably good shape for her age, but she is bored, bored, bored. She still has her wit, and when I asked if she wanted to play bingo with the other residents she said, "there are worse things than being bored."  You can tell looking at her photo that she still takes great pride in her appearance!

So here's the lack of great choices.  She can't live in my uncle's home (he lives nearby) as she can't do stairs. The time to have made the adaptations was fifteen years ago but she refused to live with anyone.  Now she has outlived her money, which is another reason she can't go back.  Massachusetts is a socialized medicine state, so she had to spend all her money before she qualified for financial help, but now there are very few places for her to stay.  If my uncle and dad (or us) help her financially, she is no longer qualified to stay where she is, but there isn't any place nicer she can go due to her "needs:.  It really sucks.

We could tell she was depressed, but just making the best of a bad situation.  I'm hoping that when my dad comes through here on the way to visit I can give him an easy (big button) CD player so she can listen to books on CD.  Her eyes aren't good enough to read for any length of time anymore.  She's not interested in computers either.  Sigh.

Did I mention it sucks?

Lois with her great-grandchildren


The Bug said...

It really does suck - and really it seems like unless you're rich (or have family with the room, time & skills) there AREN'T any good choices if you need care. Although adjusting a collar & applying a patch shouldn't really require that much skill should it? Sheesh.

Annmarie Pipa said...

oh wow...guess the only choice we ever have is how we will react.

Robin said...

Getting old really isn't for the faint of heart. I hope your family is able to find a way to enrich her days a bit more.

Nonnie said...

She is lovely. We went through similar choices with my mother-in-law. It was a difficult time.

Mary said...

OMG! That woman is NOT 96 years old! Those are some tough choices, for sure.

Sweet Tea said...

She looks amazing!! You've got some great genes in your family! There simply needs to be better options for our older citizens. Don't know what the answe is.