Sometimes I Feel Like a Piece of Bologna

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Looking at Assisted Living

Subsidized Long-Term Care Supporters See Opportunity With Health Care Bill

Today was a landmark day in our family. We looked at our first assisted living facility.

When I arrived at Mom’s, I suggested that we might want to begin looking at what’s available in her town for the next step. She was quite resistant, but I pressed a bit. I’ve been concerned as I’ve talked to her on the phone, and after my brother’s last visit, he emailed to day that he was getting more concerned about her ability to live alone. So, I decided to broach the unbroachable. I kept it low-key. Let’s just look. No commitments. No contracts. Let’s just see what the options are so that I won’t have to make a sudden decision without her input. She finally agreed and I was able to make one appointment for today and one for tomorrow.

Before we went, I read and printed a comprehensive Consumer Checklist from the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living. Although I didn’t refer to it while we were there, it was very helpful to have read in advance.

Both facilities I called invited us to come for a meal. The director took us on a tour of the facility, and then we enjoyed a light supper in the dining room. We had no staff with us during dinner, so I got bold. I went over to the next table asked the ladies how they liked the facility. They were very gracious and gave me what sounded like an honest assessment –good points and bad points.

Tomorrow we go to another facility. It’s hard to think of Mom living in one room. She’s not there now. I pray she never will be. But I’m preparing for the worst. Preparing is a good thing.

How are you preparing?

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Monday, January 18, 2010

When I Grow Up...

Female senior

As you may know, I’m in grad school. Yep. Grad school. Have been for a couple of years, one class at a time. I’m absolutely loving it. I started a new class on Saturday. The prof broke us into small work groups. I’m in a group with three delightful people who are young enough to be my kids. One of the get-acquainted questions was, “What do you want to be doing in 10 years?”

Ten years?!?! In ten years I’ll be 72! While these young people all had their career goals, I’m thinking of the Kaiser commercial that runs in our area. It features all of these scrappy old women doing delightfully active things and singing, “When I grow up I want to be an old woman…” It’s a fun commercial, celebrating the positive side of aging for positive people.

This whole exercise was just another in a series of disconnects I’ve experienced this year. For example, at the New Years Day party, I was clearly in a “different” space. Most of the women have already retired and the men who are still working were counting the days. Meanwhile, I had just finished my annual goals and was bouncing with excitement. I’ve increased my goals in just about every area—personal, professional, spiritual… I’m so excited about what 2010 will bring. I feel 35 and can’t quite wrap my mind around the idea that I’m 62 and should be slowing down.

I suppose that part of that is that I didn’t have an active professional career. I stopped working at my apex and spent the next 18 years home schooling. I loved it and wouldn’t have traded it for anything. But I guess part of me thinks I missed something and by golly, I’m making up for it now! Or maybe I’m just in round two.

I have a friend who tells me to act my age. I guess I just forget what that is. Does anyone else experience this? Or am I the only one?

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Thursday, January 07, 2010

Of Goals and Clutter

Well, here it is, January 7. When I set my goals for the year, one was to be much more consistent in keeping this blog up to date. And here we are… OK, today is the first day of my blogging year.

On December 31st, I finally had an empty house. I had planned on going out for a retreat day, but the weather was cold, the library was closed, and the house was snug, so I told hubby to pretend I wasn’t there. I had a wonderful retreat right here on my comfy sofa.

I always like to take time to review the previous year and plan for the New Year. This year, after the tumultuous year 2009 was for so many (including us), I had great expectations for 2010. As I reviewed and prayed, I began to feel a sense of expectancy. Then joy. Then anticipation. I wrote. I planned. I prayed some more. I set goals. Lots of them. I felt 35 and on the verge of new life.

Later, as I headed out for a walk (one of my goals) I saw this on the tree in our front yard. I love January in California, where the buds appear within a week of Christmas. As I walked over to examine the new growth,  I recognized my life – fresh buds, surrounded by last year’s leaves. Dead, dry leaves. Stubborn leaves that had not succumbed to the winds and the rains. Leaves that were contributing absolutely nothing to the task of the tree for this new season.

This has been a problem I’ve faced for most of my life – the fear of letting go of that which no longer brings or has life. I have a lot of projects that are unfinished. Projects that probably should be abandoned. But, what if… what if I could resuscitate them? What if I could repurpose them? So they cling to the branch of my life, cluttering and crowding out the new growth.

This year, as I face the fact that at 62 with an aging mother who needs ever more help, I need to be ever more strategic if I’m going to age successfully and well, I must also face the fact that my life is cluttered and the clutter has to go if I"m to finish well. When I had walked my 5000 steps, I came home a eliminated some of the more unattainable and over-reaching goals from my list. And on the 2nd, I spent the day cleaning my office. Clutter, you must go this year! New growth, blossom and thrive!

(BTW, I still feel 35 and on the verge of new life. I’m just going to try to be a little smarter as I go.)

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Friday, January 01, 2010

Happy New Year

Can you believe it’s 2010? Just 10 years ago we spent the evening watching the new millennium cross the world time zones and breathing a sigh of relief when Y2K didn’t take out Europe or the East Coast. Our son was in a high school debate league, so we celebrated with a group of home school friends by taking turns doing impromptu speeches. Not your typical New Year’s Eve celebration, but it seemed to fit the crazy mood of the year.

This year we are home, just hubby and I. We enjoyed crab, champagne, and a movie. The kids left yesterday after spending five wonderful days with us. They flew out last night and had today to prepare for their new tradition: a New Year’s Day chili party. Throughout DS’s years at home, we celebrated the New Year at a hot dog party with friends from our single years. The kids would spend the day watching movie after movie, a rare treat designed to keep them quiet while the adults caught up on a year’s worth of life. Now DS and DIL are creating their own tradition with friends from their single years. And we’ll be eating hot dogs with some “very old (but very dear) people.” Life goes on.

Whether your 2009 was wonderful or terrible, I pray that 2010 be many times better. Decide now that you will love and live life. Every minute of it. Blessings!

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