My own caregiving journey with my parents began about twenty years ago when my father was diagnosed with terminal cancer. I left my employment to help care for him at home for nine months before he passed away. It was an experience that truly set my life on a new path. That life decision has now culminated in the start up of Caresmart Seniors Consulting, assisting elders and their adult children through the evolving transitions that aging can present.
My mum is now ninety years old and living in the same four bedroom house in Kelowna that I grew up in. Her greatest desire has been to age in place in her own home where she has lived for the past fifty-six years and where the memories of my dad and the growing up adventures of her four rambunctious daughters remain. There have been many steps of transition that we have gone through, finding new solutions to enable her to age well in her own home following a diagnosis of lung cancer ten years ago and three separate fractures over the past six years. One of these occurred when she was out doing deliveries at night for her Avon district at the age of eighty-five!
Respecting my mum’s deepest wishes for her life in her older senior years has presented some challenges, but we have always found a way to work through them one step at a time. Brainstorming solutions, sharing our emotions, joining together as a family and making compromises have all come into play.
Along the way I have learned much about myself, about love and compassion and about letting go. I hope that in some way I might be able to help you on your own unique journey through the transitions that aging demands of each of us, in caring for our loved ones and in preparing proactively for the time when we are elders ourselves.
Marjorie Horne, President, Caresmart Seniors Consulting Inc.
Above photo courtesy of Chloe Crane Leroux