I watched this 21 minute video this morning that was shared by Christine as a worthy view. I was quite happy it decided to actually play for me. I know she is very busy these days, so will share here on the forum. I want to add a bit of commentary first though.
I am 62 and my husband is 74. Also, I have taken care of two elderly women in their 90’s. One had a number of health issues, and required fairly regular blood transfusions. She always improved dramatically after these blood transfusions, except for the last one. I can’t help thinking that the quality of the blood that gets transfused was the reason she took a nose dive after that last one. Her mind was sharp up until then. I was actually there with the family when the doctor asked her some personal questions that revealed her cognitive abilities had also taken a hike. I saw the look of horror on her face as she realized she could not answer his questions. That pretty much sealed her fate.
The doctor and her family made the decision to withhold medications and do no further blood transfusions. Within two weeks she had passed, fortunately at home with her family around her. I was there just a couple of hours before she passed. I remember her wanting a shower about a week after she basically went home to die. I could not get her into the shower because she just did not have the strength, although we both tried very hard to make it happen.
I was there with her family as we were instructed how to take the sheets on each side to turn her over, which we had to do because she could no longer control her bowels, and had to be changed regularly. She also needed to be moved every couple hours to prevent bed sores. At no time was she left without food and water, although by the last day she could no longer eat. Her family was very attentive to her needs. I was there as they had to give her suppositories for the pain just before passing. I think everyone did the best they could. I saw her spirit get bigger and bigger as it was preparing to leave her body. I know how a person’s breathing changes now, just before they pass. It was a life changing and humbling experience for me.
The second woman was a totally different experience. Even though my husband was a medic in the military, and then a physician’s assistant for a while after getting out, this was not exactly his forte. And neither was it mine. Long story, but we were hired by this woman’s daughter, and were told she had mild dementia. We were to live in and care for her basic needs. The job lasted almost exactly one year.
It turns out she had advanced Alzheimer’s, and not just a mild case of dementia. In addition to this, her hearing was so bad that for about the first three weeks she didn’t even know we were there. She basically sat on the sofa all day, mostly in silence. I won’t bore you with all the details, but, basically she improved to the point where she was making it around the circle from the sofa, to her bedroom, through the bathroom, then kitchen, then back to the sofa in 6 minutes with her walker. I threw out the benefiber as with the change in diet I implemented, she no longer needed it. We put music and movies on for her as well. This all perked her up, even though her mind continued it’s downward spiral. We realized early on that, even though her daughter left her alone all day before we came on the scene (she lived in her own home nearby), she really shouldn’t be alone at all.
We could have been mean, and neglected her, and no one would have even known. But, as I’ve always felt the awareness of a power greater than myself, and so does my husband, we did our very best for a full year. It made our relationship even closer, putting our backs together like that. At times, we even had to take night shifts to make sure she didn’t try to get up and fall during the night. Towards the end she had little bowel control, and began to be difficult to feed. I learned a tremendous amount again, and was humbled to my core from this experience. I was there, holding her hand, on that last day when we realized she was on her way out. She couldn’t get her breath and didn’t understand what was happening. Her daughter seemed to take her time bringing over her car so we could load her up to take her to the hospital. She died in my husband’s arms in the back seat on the way.
There is so much more I could say, but not wanting to write a book will try to cut this short. There are so many aspects to this, but, bottom line, I have no plans of ending up in a nursing home. I never have, and after seeing this, it brings it all home even more. And I’m sharing this to help bring more awareness to the bigger picture. I see a lot of fear, especially amongst many good people that are getting up there in age. I know I am personally learning new things every day, and becoming less and less reliant on the “system” for much of anything. I know quite a few who are likewise doing this. I have hopes to share this valuable first hand knowledge and experience so the younger generations have some workable blueprints on how to get there. That’s why I’ve shared this journey on my Farm Life thread. Being self reliant, knowing how to make your own medicine, grow and produce your own food, as well as not relying on the power company are all good skills.
Many people who have ended up in nursing homes spent their entire lives believing in the system. And now, it’s letting them down, in a big way. And lastly, those of us who seem to operate outside the system are not the enemy. Quite the contrary. In many ways, we are the best hope for surviving what is to come. It’s going to be a bumpy ride for awhile. And, knowledge is power. It’s up to each of us what we choose to do with it. No time for willful ignorance.
"Silence is golden when you can't think of a good answer."
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