Some time ago, I was caring for a 94-year-old gentleman. An active senior, he lived alone in his small home, doing most everything for himself. Basic self-care tasks like eating, bathing, grooming, and getting dressed were not obstacles. Except for shopping and housekeeping, but he managed his money, medications, and cooking.
One day, I made a visit with the goal of documenting his advance care plan. So, I asked him, “If your heart should suddenly stop beating, would you want everything done?
After a thoughtful moment, he replied: “It depends.”
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. It is a personal one and varies from individual to individual. Even in the same individual, one’s answer to “Depends on what? “And “When is enough enough?” evolves as age and health change over time. My struggle with this question birthed an idea for the project I now call CaringEnd.
Why I started...
She can’t live alone anymore
So, your mom couldn’t live by herself anymore.
You found her medicine bottles under her bedroom pillow, and she couldn’t remember putting them there. She once was a really good cook - and proud of it. But you caught her trying to fix a TV dinner in the oven with the plastic wrapper still on.
A child of the Great Depression, she was careful with money and a planner. But time came where you couldn’t reach her by phone. Scammers kept her landline and cell phone tied up while convincing her to hand over thousands of dollars. And she didn’t want you in her financial affairs.
You decided to take her in to your home. Over her protests, you managed to move her a week ago, a month ago, maybe even a year ago.
Since then, you’ve done everything you can think of to make her feel at home. You brought what furniture and belongings you could that would fit in your space. You changed your routines and those of your...