This is a post in progress...
My wonderful Mom has passed away. The last weeks of her life taught me how vital it is for EVERYONE to have a practice of self-soothing -- prayer/meditation/deep breathing. Whatever works, this life skill is essential. Learn it early. Practice it often.
More on all that later...
The loss of Mom is a lot to process. And there's still all the administrative tasks to deal with. I am taking things slowly. "Apply oxygen mask (self-care tools) to yourself before assisting others," remains in effect.
For now, I'm remembering the great life she lived:
a 62-year loving marriage with Dad;
travel and adventures from the late 1930s to her last Europe visit (a month long trip in 2013 -- when she and Dad were in their 80s!).
She compiled 40 photograph albums from the 1950s-2020s. These are vintage time capsules of Europe, Hawaii and several states in the US.
She was an artist, and the best mom ever.
Dad passed away suddenly two years ago. His departure put mom and me on a journey. It was a desert we
crossed together. Sometimes the conditions were harsh, but thanks to planning and
resources — we got to see some beauty in crossing too. Now we are each at our own
version of the oasis at the end. Relief. Reflection. Remembrances. Rest.
Even though Mom was in her late 90s -- and had survived bouts of pneumonia starting back in May -- it was a struggle to get her on hospice in the last months of her life. I'm still deconstructing what went wrong. She suffered in the last few weeks -- and I think that was preventable. I'll be sharing more of the experience in this post. Hopefully other families can learn from the lessons we learned the hard way.
Everyone deserves the peace, safety and comfort we all expect from hospice. No one should have to fight for it.
12.1.23 segment from Amanpour and Co. on the grinding costs of elder care. It references important NY Times “Dying Broke” series (https://www.nytimes.com/series/dying-broke). There are no easy answers on how to afford elder care — short or long term. It's a universal problem. This segment discusses the average costs of $10k/mo for assisted living -- which means 6 figures a year! Aging at home with Private care is even more. Spending down all assets is often inevitable if many years of constant care are required. If elders are expecting kids/family members to take them in and provide full-time caregiving -- be aware of the emotional and financial impact. Have the hard conversations early and often.
This next video is 2 years old, but the challenges are still the same. "The Retirement Gamble" from Frontline