â€œI found him in bed when I came to visit this morning.â€ Kathy, my dadâ€™s case manager was on the phone, calling from his apartment during her once-a-month visit. â€œUsually he is downstairs waiting for me. I think he may have broken his hip when he stumbled and fell Â in his room this morning.â€
Itâ€™s easy to miss the changes when you see someone almost every day. It was a comfort for me to have another set of eyes on my Dad him as he gradually declined, but still able to live in an independent living place just five minutes from our home. He was living alone, as my mom had died four years earlier.
We were in Florida on vacation when the call came, just two weeks after my retirement began. I had a good retirement income, and a bucket load of dreams just waiting to be realized when we got that call, which had us cutting our vacation short and scurrying back to Illinois.Â I arrived in time for his surgery the next day. Two days after that, we moved him into rehab at a nursing home.
â€œHeâ€™s going to need Assisted Living,â€ the therapist said when she evaluated Dad two days later. â€œHe will need 24/7 care for now.â€ She said it matter-of-factly in a nice enough way, I suppose, but I had an immediate antipathy toward her. Did she have any idea how she had single-handedly upended our world with those six words?
We always knew my dad would live with us when he could no longer stay in his simple studio apartment. My dad had been in ministry all his life and financially, heâ€™d done the best with what he had, which for many of those years had been precious little. Now he was almost out of money and this person was telling me my dad needed 24-7 care for now and probably assisted living after that. He would most likely be with us the rest of his life, however long that would be. We knew it would come to this point, but not now, not so soon after my long-anticipated retirement â€“ not this way . .Â .
Click HERE for the “Rest of the Story”. .Â . on The Perennial Gen for those in the second half of life.
. . . . . . .
related story: also on The Perennial Gen
Three Years Later – Reflections on the third anniversary of my Dad’s death.