August 15, 2016

I guess you could call this the first day of 24/7 home care for my mom. This is a milestone that my mom has been fighting gallantly (and stubbornly) for years. At more vulnerable times, she might admit it was something she might need in the future, but her company line, repeated over and over (and over and over) was, “The house is too small, there is no room for another person. I am a very private person.”

One of those things is true. She is fiercely private–to the point of being a loner–and prefers her own company over nearly all others.

She was also adamant that she could still do everything around the house by herself (household management, cooking, all personal day-to-day stuff), and up until now, she’s mostly been doing it all, with one huge exception: driving.

She hasn’t been able to drive since she had heart valve surgery (December 2009), so very (very) begrudgingly, she acquiesced to hiring someone for a few hours a day so she could get around.

The truth is, she has needed people around for a lot more than just driving, especially after hospital stays.  But, until now, she has avoided the 24/7 live-in.

We have a pretty good arrangement: two sisters are tag teaming to cover the week–one works five days, the other two. Including sleeping over. They’ve both been doing this work for decades, and in this area, so know the lay of the land. This should be pretty close to perfect.

This is Dorie:


It will be a much better situation once my mom accepts it. She certainly knows that having live-in care is the key to staying in her home. She just needs to get over the invasiveness of having a stranger sharing her space.

Aging is a lot about diminishing options and the grace to accept what are often imperfect solutions.

I just wish for my mom a sense of peace. I’d love for her to revel in the positive aspects of her life and enjoy like hell the things she loves the most: her kids; our family and especially its newest members; the breeze coming off the ocean and smell of the beach; tennis on TV; the LA Times; raging about current events; her bottomless stack of books; good movies; good food; strong coffee; the occasional Grey Goose; the view out the family room, kitchen and dining room windows; her bedroom with its high bed and mountains of down.

As frustrating as it may be having to depend on relative strangers for help, they are not standing in the way of any of the things she most treasures. I hope she can focus on those sweet joys.


2 Responses to “24/7”

  1. bud ellie johnson Says:

    That’s good news, Kari. Thanks for all you have been doing – you are next to a saint. Give my best to Ina – I’ll call her in a few days. Love, Aunt Ellie

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