The clock in the room is ticking. Were it not for the fact that I know I could leave when I wanted or I could choose an activity to do – like sewing or cooking or writing a blog post – the sound would drive me crazy. I have often wondered (not a good thing sometimes) whether we are guilty of pushing mom towards more forgetfulness. I know age plays a huge part because I can see in my own self a decreased ability to learn quickly or to get up from sitting on the floor – I am no spring chicken! Could there be a correlation between social inactivity and the deterioration of the mind? I have actually found lots of information, speculative as well as proven, concluding that physical inactivity leads to chronic illness, deterioration of the body (I want to say, “duh”), and deterioration of the mind as well as other things, but what about isolation and social inactivity?
Here is the question of the day: do we put mom in a care home or keep her at home? We have chosen thus far to keep her in familiar surroundings. She is in a clean house with the laundry all done and with the exception of some weeding, there is not much to do. Mom is in her room playing a game on her tablet. There is nothing to keep her engaged and it would be very difficult for me to keep her physically occupied for 8-10 hours a day. She can’t drive, cook, or even go out for a walk by herself. She won’t watch television because she can’t follow what people are saying and doing. So, we find ourselves in a dilemma of sorts and the guilt is simply overwhelming.
I have been in care homes where there is always activity – the TV is on and there are folks all around doing one thing or another. Most are bright and airy and there are people to talk to. As much as I take mom to the mall or out to run errands, there are hardly any times she is able to be social and we can’t stay at the mall all day. The social aspect of living is an incredible motivator to live!
There is also the financial burden of a care home. Truly, that plays a significant part of a decision like this, but we all still need to work so there is a cost no matter what we choose.
Today, I am exploring this option “out loud” for the first time and praying for my family as we will have to face this choice very soon. What is driving me to think about this is the daily sight of mom sitting alone playing on her tablet because I have run out of conversation and things for us to do. It is hard to put into words what we haven’t really allowed ourselves to think. Sure, all of us would love to win the lottery and retire to play the rest of our lives, but I am certain my choice of play would not be in a room where all I heard was the ticking of a clock.