Saturday, November 04, 2006

When I'm 94

The Beatles had a great tune called, "When I'm 64," to which I can't remember all the lyrics, mostly because the year it came out, I was occupied with wedding preparations, and 64 seemed like the back side of the moon. Now that it's imminent, well....

Dear old Dad has been with us for two weeks now, and this morning was about typical: DH is making coffee and we're chatting quietly when suddenly we hear a roar: "I NEED A SHOWER!" This is supposed to be the signal for DH to drop everything and going rushing in to help his father, not the easiest thing in the world when you are making brewed coffee and in the middle of counting out the appropriate number of scoops. "JUST A MINUTE," yells back DH. (We have to yell because dear old is deaf, and won't wear a hearing aid.) "HELP ME WITH THE SHOWER!" "IN A MINUTE!" Coffee counted out, DH runs to the bathroom to help dear old into the shower, explain to him -- yet again -- how to turn on the hot and cold water, and where the grab bar is.

Then breakfast. He shuffles out, clean and spruce, sits down, and starts worrying about mail that came for him yesterday. Now, at the same time, he also wants his juice, his oatmeal, his bread and peanut butter, and his coffee, in that order -- but he wants us to see to his bills, too. Right now. The Boss (me) steps in: "JIM IS MAKING BREAKFAST. WE WILL WORRY ABOUT BILLS AFTER BREAKFAST." "OK," he mutters, and subsides.

We are hoping to take him with us later today while we shop for a new sofa. My brother has offered to take our old sofa for his son, newly graduated from college and in need of "real" furniture, and we had decided, while I was convalescing, to get a new sofa; dear old's arrival put a crimp in those plans, but since my brother is coming to collect our sofa on Thursday or Friday, we kind of need something to put in its place. So shopping with dear old in tow is something of a necessity, since we both need to be comfortable with this thing.

We are also hoping to hold off putting dear old into assisted living till sometime after Christmas. It doesn't seem fair to move him up here and toss him into a home just before the holidays. But if we ever doubted it before, today's episode has made it crystal clear that he really needs assisted living; I don't have the physical strength to deal with his frailties, and DH can't be home all the time.

And meanwhile, we are hoping that we can survive dear old's arrival into our household. He really is as demanding as a three-year-old, and as needy as a three-year-old, but without the resources to entertain himself for any length of time. Yesterday he was complaining to DH that he needs to get out more often. (He was upset that I wouldn't take him grocery shopping with me.) But when they went for a walk, 2/10 of a mile down to the post office, DH found that he had to hold the old man up on the way back. I can picture me struggling with groceries, a cart, and holding up at 94-year-old grown man who's taller than me.

Anyway, assuming we survive this Presence in our household -- not all caregivers do -- we have also begun to take steps towards getting long-term care insurance. I hope never to need it; but if I do, I don't want to do this to my children. Neither, bless him, does DH.


Mimi said...


Elizabeth said...

"When I'm 64"

When I get older, losing my hair, many years from now,
Will you still be sending me a Valentine,birthday greetings, bottle of wine?
If I'd been out 'till quarter to three,would you lock the door?
Will you still need me, will you still feed me,
When I'm sixty-four?

You'll be older, too. Aaah, and if you say the word, I could stay with you.

I could be handy, mending a fuse, when your lights have gone.
You can knit a sweater by the fireside, Sunday mornings, go for a ride.
Doing the garden, digging the weeds, who could ask for more?
Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I'm sixty four?

Every summer we can rent a cottage in the Isle of Wightif it's not to dear. We shall scrimp and save.
Ah, grandchildren on your knee, Vera, Chuck, and Dave.

Send me a postcard, drop me a line stating point of view.
Indicate precisely what you mean to say, yours sincerely wasting away.
Give me your answer, fill in a form, mine forever more.
Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I'm sixty four?
(by John Lennon/Paul McCartney)


Meg said...

Elizabeth, thanks a million! I've always had a hard time understanding the lyrics.