Grandma Marge

Monday, March 21, 2005

Dealing with Dependency

After a month's absence, I am finally going to do a blog. I have been sick with a bad cold and couldn't seem to think of an interesting topic. As you can see, my topic isn't all that fascinating, but it is something I have been thinking about.

When you are an infant, you are totally dependent on an adult caretaker. As you get older, and more mature, you achieve more independence, can take more responsibility, and make more of your own decisions. This is what we as parents try to teach our children. I think sometimes that we do too good a job. This is because in the birth, life, death cycle, many of us become dependent again because of an illness.

Our natural inclination fights this, much like a teenager fights for his or her independence. Kids want to make their own decisions, even if it is wrong. Of course, what is wrong, is in the eyes of the beholder.

My husband, John, is in the early stages of Alzheimer's. One of the hardest things for him is his loss of independence. He is used to deciding that he wants to go somewhere and then getting in the car and going. Because he doesn't trust his driving ability, he is afraid to drive for fear he might hurt someone. His primary care doctor does not want him to drive. Now, when he wants to go somewhere, he has to ask someone to take him. He feels most comfortable asking me, but we go through some real manuevering to work around both of us and our schedules.

He also has trouble dressing himself on occasions and wants to try to do it himself. This is fine, if we have the time, but if we have to be somewhere within a certain time frame, there might not be time. He almost always has trouble if he hurries.

I see myself becoming more dependent as I get older. It takes me longer to do things and I get tired more easily. I hate that! It does, I suppose help me empathize with John, but that is the only positive I can see to it. Being financially dependent is the worst part of being older. Medical care just about kills you financially. It is the hassle of medications. I have to make sure that neither one of us runs out of a prescription. Co-pays have gotten more expensive as well as the medical insurance premium. I suspect that the government's promise of prescription coverage has made the drug companies raise their prices, particularly on people who have prescription coverage on their supplemental to Medicare policies.

As I strive to make our "golden years" more golden, I would imagine that learning to deal with having to be dependent on children, drug companies, doctors and dentists is a part of life. I will try to be as pleasant as I can about this whole business, as I want those around us to enjoy our company. Perhaps my greatest fear is that I have grown too old and set in my ways to have younger people want to spend time with us. I seem to have no trouble with friends my age, we seem to all be in the same boat. I do feel blessed that I have great kids and a husband that still loves me.