Thursday, 11 January 2018

Nursing Homes.

Several of us playing ukulele this afternoon at a Nursing Home for the elderly in a nearby village.   The particular home has a very good reputation and the inmates seem quite happy - all of them in their eighties or nineties I would guess.   They have varying degrees of mobility - some much worse than me, some better.  Whenever I go I ask myself the same question.   Could I live here?
The answer is always no,but I think that is because I manage well living alone - but it may not always be so. 

Here I have the freedom to drive where I wish to drive, to call upon who I wish to call upon, to tootle off for an afternoon, to ring a friend and ask them out for lunch. All that would be denied to me in such circumstances.

The residents enjoyed our sing song.   One elderly lady came up to me afterwards, saying how much she had enjoyed it because we had sung all the old songs they knew and they could join in Daisy, Cockles and Mussels, Pack up your Troubles,
all the old favourites.

Coming home friend W and I were talking about getting old and loneliness.   I would say that, if you have had a partner at some time in your life, it is more or less impossible when one of you is left alone, to not feel lonely some of the time.   What to do?   Giving in to it is, I am sure, not the answer.   Possibly the way to fight it is to have plenty to do, lots of interests, plenty of friends and maybe some kind of voluntary work if one is fit enough. 

All I know for sure is that I have no desire to enter any kind of rest home/nursing home/care home.   For as long as I possibly can I wish to remain in my own home, with all my possessions around me, master of my own fate and totally independent.

The day may well come, but I am not there yet.

24 comments:

Bea said...

I can well imagine how those songs must have been a hit. Even I, a 47-year-old Californian, remember those diddies from childhood.

Autonomy is key. -good to read that you're still able to meet your own needs, for the most part, and live a good life. May we all be able to have that for as long as we can!

Joanne Noragon said...

Plenty of interests, plenty of friends, plenty to do, a stack of books. An animal to look after. My cat is rather proud he reminds me every morning that he is first--after me.

Rachel Phillips said...

Keep active and busy and if the genes are ok you will be ok.

justjill said...

I doubt I will outlive the DP, but you never know. I too would cling on to my independence. I would rather stay here and pay someone or get help from social services, that is if the latter is allowed to continue by this government.

John Going Gently said...

Amen......it tickled me that you are probably older than some of the residents

Mac n' Janet said...

I pray I never have to go to a nursing home, I would hate it. My sister on the other hand says she's looking g forward to it and would infinitely prefer it to living with either of her kids. Course she lives in a small town, knows the owners of the local home, in fact we're probably related to them.

Derek Faulkner said...

"rage, rage against the dying of the light" - as Dylan Thomas said, and boy, are you doing it so well.
Like John, it was amusing for me to think of you playing for all the "old folk" - keep it up.

Heather said...

I feel just the same Pat, and have adapted quite well to living alone for the first time in my life. I suppose being in this particular flat which opens onto a carpeted corridor, makes me feel less isolated than I did in a detached house. I am hoping my energy might return so that I can be a bit more active but I can occupy myself contentedly throughout the day, and when I meet them, my neighbours are very friendly and pleasant. I will be happy here until the day comes when I can no longer look after myself.

Anonymous said...

My mum like Heather above is in a retirement complex that has a warden and she has been there for 9 years and settled in really well despite initial concerns. I think they are a good option for some people - she had lived in the family home for 4 years after dad died but was finding it extremely lonely as it wasn't near a village or on a bus route. Now she is able to get a bus through to Yarm or Stockton and pop across the road everyday for a coffee at the cafe.
I think you are in an ideal place too Pat as you have neighbours now and can get out and meet people taking the dog for a walk.
I think it is one of those things that we all hope we never have to go into a care home - but I do know of a few people who have gone in for a respite week and then asked to stay on as they find they actually like being looked after and having company!

Yarrow said...

My wonderful Nan lived alone and quite happily until she was 96. She had a few friends, lots of family who cared for her and until the last year or so was extremely mobile and independant. I believe it's all to do with your state of mind. I hope you stay exactly where you want to be, it's what I'll do.xxx

yellowtulip118@gmail.com said...

I love reading your blog and feel inspired by your positivity. I have no wish to enter a care home in my dotage, if I can possibly help it and hope you never have to.

Wilma said...

That you used the word "inmate" to describe the residents of the nursing home definitely gives away your feeling about not wanting to give up your independence! I admire your active approach to making changes that will keep you independent for as long as possible. I am taking notes!

Red said...

Like many , you have been giving this issue some serious though and looking at it with reality. However, I think most of us will end up in a nursing home.

angryparsnip said...

I also have been thinking about this. These last two years have been bad for me. I am renewing my efforts to get better control of my life and live. Somedays I am beyond sad and depressed but I refuse to stay that way for long but it creeps back. I hope to make small changes and enjoy my home and animals again.

cheers, parsnip and mandibles

Cro Magnon said...

There is also a certain amount of 'inconvenience' about being independent, which is good for you. Having to make our own cup of tea, making the bed, washing up, cooking, etc. Everything keeps the mind and body healthier than if it's being done for you by someone else. Stay independent!

Librarian said...

Independence and freedom are our most prized values, I suppose. But what worries me about the nursing home you visited is that you say if you lived there, "to drive where I wish to drive, to call upon who I wish to call upon, to tootle off for an afternoon, to ring a friend and ask them out for lunch" would be denied to you.
Surely the people living at the home can come and go as they please, provided they let the staff know (to avoid unnecessary worries and search parties sent out for them)?

My Grandmother was blind for the last 11 years of her life. When she became very ill, she went to live with her son (my uncle) and daughter-in-law. My aunt worked at a nursing home then, and it was decided my Grandma goes to live there. She was terribly scared of going, and died the Saturday before her move that was due the following Monday.

A friend of my parents who is in her 90s, on the other hand, has just moved from one nursing home to another. She is really happy there, has made friends, and says the staff are kind and helpful and she does not have to worry about anything.

John "By Stargoose And Hanglands" said...

My grandmother decided for herself that it was time to go into a nursing home when she was well into her nineties. She loved the place she chose for herself, made many friends there and had frequent visits from the family. Also one of the male staff was always happy to arrange shopping trips for her. She even learned to drive an electric wheelchair when she was about 96! So it can be a happy experience.

Rachel Phillips said...

I had an elderly client whose wife died and he chose to go into a local residential home at that point because he had never looked after himself, couldn't cook etc. He funded this from the proceeds of the sale of his house. He kept his car and still went out and about. He told me it was the best thing he ever did.

Tom Stephenson said...

I have friends who have opted for sheltered accommodation with people looking in every now and then. It beats hanging around in a sun-lounge with a load of strangers unless you like that sort of thing.

Hilary said...

And then sometimes, you can have a partner, who is not very "present", whether from age, health, whatever, and truly, you can be just as lonely.
I find keeping myself busy....I'm a weaver........having a dog and cats around.........spending time with other family and friends, gets me through. Loneliness, I'm afraid, is a human condition. And you don't have to be alone to experience it.

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

Some people are old at 50, while others who stay involved with life and friends are young in spirit still at 90. It sounds like you are living the way we all hope for ourselves,

Lucy Corrander Now in Halifax! said...

I wonder why it is that when people go to live in a home for elderly or frail people they are not expected to carry on going out and about to the extent of their ability. It's odd that one is expected to leap to an extreme.

Polly said...

I’m glad you are enjoying your new surroundings. There is a new residential home in Chelmsford. I pass it often and saw it being built. I wanted to go to the opening day to have a look round (I’m a tad nosy), but I was in Australia at the time. It has a cinema, hair and beauty salon, bistro, library, gardens with upper floor terraces and an indoor garden, luxury bedrooms and suites and private dining. So when the time comes I would like to live there.....except I doubt if I could afford it!

The Weaver of Grass said...

Good, positive comments - you all more or less sum up what I feel.
Wherethe journeytakesme - it would be lovely to go into Yarm when I felt like it. It is just a bit too far for me to go - maybe around twenty five miles (and then a search for a parking place) but there is a lovely restaurant there and interesting shops. Do you live in that area too?