Stories and thoughts about family and life

For Love or Money

on August 26, 2014

Or at least that’s how I feel lately. For love or money, but rarely for both. I’m sure you’re probably tired of reading about the in-laws. I’m honestly tired of writing about them, but that’s how I deal with things, primarily, so here we are.
I remember when we put them in the nursing home my sister-in-law had discussed the situation with her pastor, who had recently been through this with his parents in the past several years. He warned her that their health would steadily decline, along with their mental capacity. I remember thinking that at least they were somewhere safe, and it would be more security for them and less stress for us. Wrong. So very, very wrong.
As people age, they really do encounter a second childhood. Sometimes that childhood is kind and fun, although a bit out of place. Sometimes it’s scary and lonely and tormenting to the person experiencing it. To those around that person, it’s confusing and frustrating and combative as you work to ensure your loved one has what she needs and desperately try to retain your own sense of control.
Dealing with the elderly is an endless series of bureaucracies covering everything from Medicaid approval down to the number of loads of laundry done in a monthly period or the number of pull-ups one is using. We negotiate over everything. They won’t eat like they should, and when we try to bring them healthy foods, they get people to bring them in candy and cookies. The administrator rights had to be removed from my father-in-law’s computer because he kept downloading things he didn’t need and changing his settings. We argue over loads of laundry and the conspiracy that someone is taking their socks. We argue over how to use Netflix and the other systems we’ve bought for them, and conversations we’ve had 50 times that they don’t seem to recall.
My father-in-law makes doctor’s appointments for himself, occasionally, which then create issues with too many people being involved in their care. They won’t (either of them) follow the advice of the doctor unless it involves a procedure, which is frustrating on many levels. They are both Type 2 Diabetics, but won’t hear of eating a diabetic diet. My mother-in-law argues that this is something we tell people because we don’t want her eating cookies (see “Tuck & Roll”), and my father-in-law insists that his insulin is making him gain weight.
There are so many things I didn’t anticipate about dealing with them being elderly. There are even more things that I would have thought we had done to the best of our ability (and I’m assured we have), which aren’t working out either. In the end it’s a crap shoot, I’m learning. Today’s solution won’t fit tomorrow’s problem.


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