Tomorrow will see hard thoughts expressed through soft words. I’m seeing my mum and it’s become obvious, due to her poor health, that the quality of her life and those around her would be dramatically improved by her moving into either a care home or some form of sheltered housing.
She was an alcoholic for many years and two years ago she had a heart attack and a stroke. The consultant at the time told me that it couldn’t have been the first stroke she’d had as some “sections of her brain are mush.”
For the past few years she’s been relying heavily on the support of my aunt and, recently, some carers. My aunt is independent, outgoing, works full-time, has lots of friends and regularly travels overseas. Her son is in Australia and I know that she wants to move over there to spend more time with them and see her grandson grow up. My aunt recently when to Australia and carers were put in place to help my mother cope with her absence. Despite being on so much medication she rattles when she walks my mum got pissed and fell, breaking her wrist and sustaining other injuries.
Some people never learn.
The carers were good for my mum but as soon as my aunt returned from Australia my mum cancelled them. She sees this as my aunt’s role. My aunt is the one who should support her and drive her to the shops, provide her with a social life. My aunt is the one who should do all this and shr receives no thanks.
My aunt wants to move to Australia but my mum’s reliance upon her is stopping her from making this decision.
It’s a terrible thing to say this but I’ll say it anyway. My mum’s quality of life and her health is so poor that she would be better off if she died, and so might others. I don’t mean this in a mean way, although we don’t get on at times, I mean it in a purely practical way. My mum is being kept going by weekly or twice-weekly trips to her GP, the support of others, and medication. She is miserable and alone, but those are her choices. She once told me ‘a friend in need is a pain in the arse’ so she has none. My aunt on the other hand is on the phone 3 or 4 times a night, purely because friends call her for a natter.
The NHS are keeping her going and keeping her alive. Expensive treatment for someone who smoked and drank a lot for many years and still does. This will keep her going until her body gives up once again and she’ll have another stroke, or her health will deteriorate even more. She’s dishonest about her health and the treatment she receives, and while I know she does get confused she’s not as confused as that. At this rate the NHS will keep propping her up until she’s 80 and driven my aunt mad or to the grave with exhaustion. In 18 years time.
They row when they’re together, and this relationship can only improve if something else happens. If someone else takes the strain.
And so I’m going to try to persuade my mum that this option, sheltered housing or a care home, would not just improve her quality of life, increase her social outlets and relieve the pressure on my aunt, but it would be better for everyone. This situation is becoming impossible and it is no longer viable for my mum to live on her own. She will hate this. She will hate the idea that this choice will be taken away from her but it is the only remaining viable alternative, and the only one that will keep her safe and the rest of us sane. But it’s gonna be hard.
Tomorrow I will talk to my mum about this and it’s only because I care. I want her to be around to spend time with her grandchildren when she can. I don’t want her to shut herself off or become so aggressive that she alienates everyone around her to the extent that they refuse to do any more and it is getting to that stage. This situation is exhausting my aunt, who has so much more in life to look forward to. My mum has made her choices in life and she runs the risk of wringing people dry. I understand her reluctance do make this change, but I have to try to convince her it’s for the best. And I have to do this tomorrow.
No decisions will be made tomorrow but we must start this process now. Before rifts and rows break this tiny family apart. Right now we all need to stick together and support each other and we must look to the future.
Thanks for reading.