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Sunday, March 1, 2015

Into Old Age

I was 22 years old so I remember it very well, the summer my Grandparents died. My Grandma had sudden brain cancer and my Grandpa had prolonged Parkinson disease. 

When I was 21 years old when I remember my Grandma had called our farm house in such a panic because her husband fell down and she couldn't get him back up. It was then that I first realized she was completely worn out in caring for him 24/7 long nights and his high pain from damaged nerves shaking so visually for the rest of us to see.

When I was 20 years old when my mother sat nursing her newborn baby as Grandma came down the hill from her home in full on tears asking my mom for more help. I was already helping Grandma with cleaning her huge home, but the aging process is such a slow thing that when one really needs help it's hard to suddenly notice. My Mom sat nursing and chewing out her mother for being such an overly dramatic person. Then my Grandma asked to hold my baby brother as my mother snapped at her "Nope, you said getting pregnant again was a stupid thing to do." I walked over to my embarrassed Grandma changing the subject knowing that my mother having more babies with no money in savings is why my Grandma had once said that. Yet now with this beautiful adorable little boy was in our arms all of our fears of the future washed away, making the whole planning ahead wisely irrelevant. 
My Grandma was lost in her own changing aging concerns, new grandchild arriving seemed to comfort her for only a moment. 
and I will always hope my baby brothers had a better childhood then me, that they will find old age to be better then all of our generations combine. 
When I was 22 I would stayed 3 days and 3 nights each week at my Grandparents as they were dying, they were wandering and they were falling down. So I lived in high alert and high fear that if they hurt themselves on my watch I would be skinned alive. So in all reality I never slept during those days, I would of LOVED this heel to floor alert device back in those sad days. Once I had a dream back then so vivid and so real I can still remember it, as I dozed off to sleep on the edge of my grandparents bed I thought my Grandpa who was determined to sneak out of bed whenever no one was watching had fallen down the short set of steps by the bedrooms I woke up shouting out loud "Grandpa!" he then looked at me in alarm, calmly still in his bed he waited for me to stop crying as I chuckle in pure relief to see his wide eyes at my sleeping outburst "I guess I was dreaming, I saw you falling down the stairs, it was SO real and SO scary!"  He nodded and smirked as I got up to make breakfast all shaky....I noticed after that he didn't fight me so much on getting out of bed without my help, maybe he felt bad knowing he gave me a real nightmare. 

In the future with this new technology we can make caring for our elderly a little better. Nowadays I wonder what we can do to help stroke victims sleep better at night, walk better in a paralyzed world. My Mother arrived to old age faster then anyone I have ever known before, for after her huge stroke she shared that she feels like an 80 year old woman now, yet she can never sleep at night. I am always reading up on how to improve one's health and how to help with better recovery for people like her.......I think if we understand how old age works then we can invent things to help us care for each other better! This tedtalk moved me to have hope for the future and to be reflective over how nice it would of been to have such device when I cared for my Grandparents.

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