On January 18th, my mother turns 90, and if you’ve been reading my previous blogs, you would know she has been a resident in a nursing home here in southern California for the past two years. She is completely non-ambulatory and suffers from macular degeneration to the point where she is practically blind. I am the Power of Attorney (POA) and the major source of inspirational and care-giving support for my mother, and my BoomerGuy Bill is always behind the scenes doing all of the financial, legal and documentation work. While it’s not quite a full-time job looking after her needs, it sometimes feels like it.
Oh, and did I mention, my father is in the same nursing home suffering from dementia and early stage Alzheimer’s. They actually share a room which is something that is not only approved, but encouraged by the skilled nursing facility in such cases. So the good news, I have only one room to visit when I go see my parents, and I don’t get lost. Ha.
And the beat goes on. They will be celebrating their 70th wedding anniversary on February 10th. Can you imagine? 70 years is not only heart-warming, but what an accomplishment.
My mother, for the most part, is mentally alert so it’s quite easy to communicate with her, and she is able to remember dates, significant events, and other conversations. We talk twice a day on the phone, and I visit when I can. My two sisters offer their support as they are available, but as the POA I am completely responsible for all the issues surrounding her well-being. She and I have been planning her birthday celebration for several weeks now, and it’s coming together quite nicely.
My sister from Laguna Niguel will be attending along with 23 specially invited friends, in addition to those present from the nursing staff. Unfortunately, my sister from Colorado Springs will be unable to join us since she was just here for 10 days over Christmas and New Year’s. We have a private room reserved with enough table space for all the goodies which will include various sandwiches, a full cheese board, very rich chocolate cake, and my mom’s favorite cheesecake. Thank you Costco for being so gracious in helping us put this together for an estimated total of 40-50 people who will be attending.
Me, being the designer that I am, have kind of gone overboard in color coordinating the table cloths, flowers, napkins, plasticware, drinking cups, banners, balloons, etc. They’re all done in vivid, hot pink which is my mother’s favorite color—and it’s a color she can still see.
So why am I telling you all this. Well, first and foremost, it’s special for my mother and I know she will enjoy it immensely. She’s so excited, but after a couple of hours she will most likely fade and want to return to her room where she can rest. I share it with you because it’s meaningful to me for my mother as her primary caregiver, and perhaps you can get some inspiration by knowing so many of us boomers are looking after loved ones, who most likely are our senior-senior parents. Perhaps you will find yourself in my situation, and hopefully my story will give you a little inspiration to do the best you can.
Yes, there is definitely a role reversal where we are now the ones looking after our parents, where sometimes we feel it’s an obligation or simply that we volunteer for the responsibility. In any case, we are now the parent, and they are the child. For me, it makes it worthwhile to see the excitement in my mother’s heart to know her close friends, and now probably the entire nursing home, will be sharing a special day in her life.
We are fortunate to not only have access to the services provided by the nursing home, but moreover, the wonderfully kind and gentle care they receive from the nursing and support staffs. Never, never, in my life did I think I would make so many grand friends with the care givers at this facility. These are kind and caring people who do a very special and important job and do it well, with hearts as big as one can possibly imagine.
I am your #1 BoomerGal promising you after the event, I will post a few photos along with a recap. Bye for now, gotta run and get ready for the Big 90. Imagine how we will feel at that age.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOTHER AND THANKS TO ALL THE YEARS YOU GAVE