05 December, 2012

No kids/busy kids - is there much difference?

Those of us without kids often think about our old age.  Lisa recently wrote some thoughts about it here.  I'm very conscious of this, as my elderly mother is deteriorating fast, and her condition could possibly be passed on to me.  (I'll find out in due course, no doubt!)  I'm visiting her this week as I won't see her at Christmas, and the last few months my sisters and I have been looking at what provisions we need to put in place for her future. The head in the sand routine would be tempting, to avoid all the complications and sibling issues and guilt.  But we can't do that, and we won't.

So yesterday, as part of the week I'm spending with her, I took her Christmas shopping.  She has always hated Christmas shopping, especially as she has aged, finding the decisions too difficult, and keeping track of everyone is too confusing.  I, on the other hand, find it fun (mostly).  And we knocked it off in about an hour.  On the way home, we stopped at the supermarket and ran into one of my mother's friends.  When she heard we'd done all the Christmas shopping, she sighed with envy.  "You could make a fortune coming down here every year and offering your services to Christmas shop for us oldies," she said laughing.  Turned out her three daughters live quite close but, as she said, her face dropping sadly, "they're very busy."

Now of course if my mother's friend needed her daughters badly they'd be there I'm sure.  As I'm sure if I desperately needed help and was alone, my nieces would be there too.  But it was yet another reminder that the elderly can be alone - and a bit lonely - even when they have family, even when their family live close. 


  1. I don't see my mother too much, since she lives 300 miles away. However, my sister, who lives 10 minutes away from her, rarely sees her either. My other two sisters live far away too. This was not what my mother intended.

  2. Very true. Can't help thinking about our old age, esp. when my FIL has had Alzheimer and he's a constant reminder of one case of what may happen during someone's old age. Nobody knows what'll happen or if we're given such a long life or not, but still...

    But anyway...whatever happens in the future we just have to embrace it, I suppose...unless we can do something to change it. That's why I love The Serenity Prayer so much. :-)

  3. I am fortunate that myself and my siblings all live very close to my Dad and that my sister lives with my Dad. We all do our best to make time with him and I have been told by many other older people that he is fortunate to have family involved and so close as others don't. Even with this being said, I know there are times when my Dad gets lonely because the fact of aging and not having control over your life anymore is so hard. He doesn't drive and if someone doesn't come and take him out - his world is very small. It has made me think alot about growing old and how it will end up for myself as I have a feeling I am going to live well into my 90's just like Dad and my Aunt!

  4. Dh & I live a 15 minute drive away from his dad, but we still only see him about twice a month for a few hours on a Saturday night. My parents live 2,000 miles away & we generally visit them for a week or two twice a year (summer & Christmas). On balance, I probably spend just as much time with them as we do with FIL!