Older is not better

I set all of my holiday chores up so that I wouldn’t have to go out to any more crowded shopping malls. Every time during the last two weeks when I took my mom out to get things she wanted, I asked her if she wanted any Christmas cards. She looked at the prices and didn’t want to pay them. She’s getting totally obsessive about not spending any money lately. (At 86 she should just go and get whatever she can afford; she’s not a pauper.)
So, today, she decided that she just had to have a box of Chrismas cards. When I hedged and reminded her that she had insisted on all those other shopping excursions that she didn’t, she got the saddest and most defeated look on her face. All I could think of was how powerless one becomes when one gets that old, doesn’t drive, has trouble walking, is getting cataracts etc. etc. If there’s one thing that I can’t abide it’s feeling powerless. And that’s one thing with which I empathize.
So, off we went to the mall, maneuvering through the steady stream of traffic that would stall for blocks at the traffice lights. But I did it and she got her cards. And I picked up something for b!X and some earrings for myself.

3 thoughts on “Older is not better

  1. Having experience now with 3 oldsters, I am convinced that the loss of independence, power, and self-control — even more than any illness or disease or physical deterioration — is the cause of their despair and anger and depression. It is pure frustration for them to see what once was theirs slipping away beyond any recall. What they once had and indeed provided others is now beyond their grasp. It’s heartbreaking for them and for caregivers to witness/experience. Keeping their loss in our minds helps guide us on the right path with them. It’s a time for the deepest compassion we can muster. You’re doing well, Elaine. Tell yourself that every night. It, too, will help.

  2. Your mom is fortunate to have you looking after her, Elaine.
    As for spending money, I tend to agree with you. There is a Cajun expression which I learned from a Les Blank movie called Spend it All:
    “Work like hell to make your money, then spend it all having a good time!”
    Maybe I’m not working hard enough, however, because I don’t have enough money to spend. I’m still having a good time, though.

  3. Thanks for this post. I see my stepfather’s battle with his own loss of physical & mental power and I’m trying to support the ways in which he can express himself.

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