This is an excellent topic for discussion. Personally I am helping to care for my parents both 92 and my mother in law who will be 90 within the month. They are in three levels of care. My mom is in a senior apartment. she uses a walker and has lifeline and gets meals on wheels. Lifeline might not have been mentioned but it really gives us children, and my mom peace of mind. If she need help for any reason all she does is push the button on a pendant and someone calls her. If she doesn't answer, the EMS is called and one of us on her primary contact list. I've met the ambulance at the hospital a few times. They don't have to lay there until found. My dad is in nursing home. He is using a wheel chair more and more but still has his walker. He has fallen a number of times. My mother in law is in assisted living. It is a wonderful facility that provides them with music and art and games and outings in addition to daily meals and medications. They are encouraged to do as much as they can for themselves. Helen does her own laundrey, she uses the community kitchen to bake cookies, she pours the water and sets out the napkins for meals. It makes her feel useful and her daughter & I know she is safe. Her daughter lives in Florida and calls every evening. I live nearby and I and my daughter visit regularly and take the doctor runs.
I feel aging in place is great and lifeline is peace of mind for family. At whatever stage a person is at, I believe, as was said before, they need to have some say over what is happening to them. My dad had two knees replaced and broke his hip all within a year. I pushed the therapy and told him he had a choice of doing nothing and being in a wheel chair the rest of his life or putting his whole mind and body into the therapy and try to be able to walk again. He chose to walk. He had at least five years of staying in his apartment because of the choice he made. He would still like to be there but with his other issues it just isn't possible that he and my mom could be safe anymore. We do take him to the apartment for an afternoon once in awhile so he can sit in his favorite chair and sleep. The choice method seems to work well for me with him. We talk and come up with a couple of alternatives and their pros and cons and then I ask him to make a choice. It's not always what I want but he generally makes rational decisions and they are his decisions. We go with them until something else happens and we start over with the options.
Little ordinary things that we can do for them means a lot to them and breaks up the monotony of their days. Mass on Sunday with breakfast afterward is something Mom and I do most Sundays. Pizza at the nursing home is treat for them as are visits from the great grandchildren and pets. My dad loves to go for a car ride around the area and look at the crops and the changes in the old homestead. One evening I packed a couple of Spotted Cow beers in a cooler and some snacks and my dad and I had a "date" watching a football game. My mother in law loves to bake so we try to get her out to one of our homes to make cookies and for a meal. Yes it is a chore loading and unloading walkers and wheelchairs and the parents themselves but the joy they get makes it so worth the effort. I do have to pray for patience though because everything moves so much slower.
Lord, I ask you to bless all of us who are now caring for aging relatives, who have in the past and those who will face the challenge in the future. I ask that you give us the wisdom to know when to push for changes, and when to allow them the dignity of their own choices. I ask for patience to listen to the same stories and the saga of health events. Help us to love them through it all. Let them feel your love through our hands as we care for them, our voices as we talk to them and in our silence when they just want someone near. Give us your strengh Lord as we see them through their bodily death to your loving arms for eternity. Amen