Last night I spoke to my 86 year old father who is in assisted living and diagnosed with dementia. His 90-something companion fell ill on Saturday night and he has been frantic, ever since. He claimed he watched her heart stop –yes, that would be scary for anyone to witness. She was taken to the hospital, and she’s still there. For two days Dad was convinced that she was dead but no one would tell him. Patient privacy rights being what they are, I couldn’t really get much information either. Finally, a few days later, the social worker at his residence told me that his “friend,” Ida was ok. She merely fainted!
When they met Ida told dad she was in her 80’s but, in fact, she is many years older than him. She looks great, but you can’t hide the fact that by 90, things start to go “wrong.” Unromantic but practical man that my father is, he can still reason. Now he tells me he thinks he made a mistake and that she will die and he’ll be lonely. Nice-huh? They made a strong attachment to each other in about two weeks about a year ago. It was so fast and intense that I had to stop them from getting married when they had known each other just four weeks. Maybe the old folks know a secret WE don’t?!!!
Lonliness can be a problem at any age, but it’s terrible to be old, and lonely. I suggested to my Dad that he might try to be more social in general, to other women and also to the men who are his neighbors. He pretty much ignored my advice (I’m his daughter so I couldn’t really know anything–right?) but I knew a part of his brain that is still working is considering it.
Living a long time isn’t always so wonderful. There is a lot of brain energy used to deal with sickness and death. NO one is 100%. I used to wonder why elderly people looked sad all the time. Now, I am getting a better idea why–sigh!
Do you have a parent or know someone dealing with this topic or are you just interested in it? Please leave a comment!