The decline of our aging parents is one of the issues that most baby boomers will have to deal with. Many will suddenly be faced with new challenges they are not prepared for.
This is my story:
My mother's health had slowly worsened over the last few years. My dad took care of her with great devotion. But it finally got to be too difficult for him, and he had no choice but to place her in a nursing home.
I moved overseas over 30 years ago, where I met my husband. When the kids were young we would visit my parents and they would come see us about every 6 months. Buy my parents got older and we were very busy with our lives, and the visits became more infrequent during the last 10 years. We talked every week and everyone was happy where they were, yet I always carried with me guilt feelings for having left them.
The idea of Mom and Dad coming to live close to us came up more than a few times, but they liked their life as it was and did not want to hear about making any changes. My dad said he had Long Term Care Insurance should he not be able to take care of himself and my mom. So I didn't have to worry about them.
Although, it was convenient for me to believe what he said, I knew that one day, we would have to deal with their aging and the vast distance between us. That day came crashing in on all of us 9 months ago.
My mother came down with pneumonia and although she was under constant care at the nursing home, her condition deteriorated and she had to be hospitalized. I told my boss I needed a few weeks off, loaded up the cabinets, fridge and freezer with food, left written instructions on how to use the washer and dryer for my husband and 2 sons and started packing.
Two days before my flight my dad called me. He fell in the hospital parking lot on his way to see my mother. He was in ICU, and would probably need an operation. He would explain when I arrived.
I headed straight from the airport to the hospital. Both my parents were in the ICU. My mom was in the first room, fast asleep. The nurse in charge said that her condition was improving. I was relieved to hear that. I went see my dad who was at the end of the hall, in the last room. He was in a neck brace, asleep, but woke up as I stepped closer.
He told me he had broken his neck in the fall. The doctors want to operate, but they are not sure he can survive the operation. My dad is 90 years old.
My story began December, 2013, a few days before Christmas.