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Respect and Care

My mother is 84 years old and a dynamo. She’s very intelligent and has always been active in the community. She’s also had a couple serious falls ending in a broken femur at the knee and hip along with other health concerns. It all resulted in “the talk” about her living independently. She looked into moving to assisted living but ultimately decided to move in with me and my wife. This was a shock to many (if not all) of her friends. How could this woman who was so used to living life on her own terms give up her condo and move in with her daughter?

It was a move my wife and I are familiar with. My father lived with us 12 years ago for the last year and a half of his life. I thought that experience had taught me lessons about having a parent give up some independence in order to be safer. My father was also very independent. A former police officer, he was used to giving orders not being taken care of. He gave up some independence, but it came at a cost. After years battling kidney disease, he chose to end life on his own terms rather than on dialysis.

I told myself I would not take away my mother’s independence as I did my father’s. I told myself this time would be different. But then concerns about driving came up. Worries about her falling became real as we realized she will fall again, and she will break bones. I realized we had to find a balance between her independence and keeping her alive and healthy.

It’s not an easy balance and I’m not particularly good at it. I want my mom with me for as long as possible, but I want her to enjoy life, too. I hope she realizes how happy I am to have her close and what a relief it is to know she’s safe. It’s an adjustment for sure but I never regretted having my father with me. I felt very blessed to have that time with him. I now feel doubly blessed to have this time with my mom, as well.

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