Old age can be terrifying for those living alone! #mgtab


Last year, my ninety-year-old mother-in-law took a bad fall and ended up in the hospital. This woman had been living alone in a little house that she managed with a lot of help from her angelic, next-door neighbor. With me visiting every few days to take her shopping and for lunch treats so she could get out of the house, things were working out…. just.

We had been urging her for years that she might think of looking into choosing a care home because she was going downhill quickly. We suspected mini stokes but being very stubborn and quite foolish, she refused to see the doctor. Laughed and told us it was old age. No doubt, she was right but some of her symptoms were happening overnight and in my mind, old age tends to be a slower—a lot slower. But there was no talking to her when she adamantly refused to listen. All she wanted to do was stay in her own little house until the end. Said if she had to go into one of those old-folks homes, she wouldn’t last a month.

Turns out, that’s not true. After her fall, and her hospital time, she ended up permanently in a wheel chair, and her hands, which had been giving her a lot of trouble, now refused to work. Again, I’m thinking more mini-stokes, which the doctors eventually confirmed. So, we had no choice but to arrange for her to be in a home knowing that way she’d get the proper care.

Since she’d always refused to seriously look at facilities, we were forced to take the first bed available in a residence closest to where we lived. Thankfully, they had a very good reputation and the girls working there were known to be kind and gentle with the people in their care.

As much as our little rebel hated the idea of giving up her independence, she was now forced to depend on others for everything. And all we wanted was for her to be treated with dignity and affection. Thankfully, we did find the right place and I’m happy to say that they celebrated her ninety-first birthday yesterday with her caregivers fussing over her with a present and a song. Her happy tears were heart-wrenching and also satisfying.

I know it wasn’t what she wanted. To be forced into living the way she is now. But sometimes the higher power has a different road for a person to travel than the one they’ve planned. My prayers were always that she could find some happiness in her final years. I’m just glad it seems to be true.

Have any of you faced this situation and has it worked out well for you? I hope so…


Because my mother-in-law was also a dear friend, I dedicated one of my favorite books to her called Loveable Christmas Angel. She was thrilled. And the book has always gotten great reviews.





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About Mimi Barbour

NYT & USA Today, best-selling, award-winning author, MIMI BARBOUR, has seven romance series to her credit. She also has many single titles and a huge number of box sets - her own and multi-author collections. Mimi lives on the East coast of Vancouver Island with her husband and writes her various romances with tongue in cheek and a mad glint in her eye. She's been known to say: "If I can steal a booklover's attention away from their everyday grind, absorb them into a fantasy love story, and make them care about the ending, then I've done my job." **Visit her blogs at http://mimibarbour.com / http://Authorsbillboard.com **Sign up for her monthly newsletter at http://mimibarbour.com Her reviews are numerous and incredibly positive: "Love Mimi Barbour, love her books. When you can read a book that within just a few words, you are brought right into the book. You feel, taste, see everything going on. Great story lines. Fantastic characters, fantastic plots, story lines like real life both honest folk and of crooks. Humor that will have you giggling then full on belly laugh. You may even shed a tear or two. All in all, Mimi never disappoints." ~ Reviewed by Shirleen Miller

14 Replies to “Old age can be terrifying for those living alone! #mgtab”

  1. Mimi, watching our aged loved ones decline is heart-wrenching. I was my father’s primary care-giver during the final two years of his life. I took him to his doctor appointments, shopping, cancer treatments, and I cooked, cleaned, etc. Like your mother-in-law, my dad didn’t want to leave his beloved home. For a while, my brothers helped me with 24/7 care. I moved in with my dad during his final three months. He died peacefully in his own room.

    There really is no wrong answer when it comes to the love and care of our parents. All we can do is what we think is best for them. The love and caring and dedication you feel for your mother-in-law shines brightly in your story, and in the end, those are the things that matter.

    • Thank you for commenting, Donna. I know you had that experience and I felt for you when you were going through those times. Now I totally understand how much it takes out of a person. Our old parents are so precious xo

  2. If my mom had been less stubborn about assisted living, she might still be alive. *sigh* This past Jan. 29 was 6 years since she passed. The whole situation still makes me sad and depressed. I’m glad your mother is still with you. Enjoy every moment.

    • Thanks, Joan. We kept her in her home for as long as it was possible. But when my father-in-law got lung cancer fifteen years ago, I came and stayed with them for the last three months of his life and we were able to keep him at home. But, she doesn’t have a terminal illness – other than old age…..sigh!!

  3. Your post strikes a chord with me, Mimi. After my father’s death, I took care of my Mom. At 85, she couldn’t drive anymore and chose to sell her house and move to independent living. The facility was across the street from my building, so convenient for me. I was with her daily, took her out shopping, to the church and to the beach. WE did a lot of things together. Mom always said she breathed better in a Mall than at home!
    Unfortunately she fell several times and needed care 24/7. We tried bringing her an aide who slept with her. After a year, the director of the facility urged her to move to the second floor where they had assisted living. Still I visited every day and spent either the morning or the evening with her, and I hire a friend of mine to be her companion when I couldn’t be with her. She spent the last two years of her life in a wheelchair but was fully alert and died at 92.
    I believe that even if an elderly is a care facility he/she should have family around all the time. It was so sad to see the other residents look at her with envy and telling her, “you are lucky you daughter is here all the time.”

  4. My grandma suffered from Dementia, a horrible, debilitating disease that steals a person’s pride and personality. When she had to give up her home it was the start of the end. I’m glad your M-I-L is with caregivers who are kind, that’s sadly not always the case.

  5. My parents were both stubborn and independent people who declared they’d rather die than move closer to town. Sadly, they had an accident and both died. On the other hand my dad was 92 and still driving and my mother was in her eighties. I suspect they’d have chosen the last five years of their life living ‘dangerously’ and their end than to be forced to live somewhere else.

    But it still hurts. I’m so glad you were able to get your mother settled and she’s enjoying life there, you really are a very special person Mimi. And I loved your book, The Loveable Christmas Angel.

    • Thank you, Pat xo I’m so sorry about your parents. Gosh, I’m sure horrible being a grown-up orphan. Thankfully, both my own parents are doing very well and are in a lodge that has assisted living. I know one day soon that will change and I dread that time so much…. scary, sad! Don’t like thinking about it.

  6. Whether our folks are living alone or in an assisted care facility, make sure you keep in touch. In 2003, I moved my mother from Arizona to an independent living senior center two miles from me in Alaska. She moved in reluctantly; she was ready to die and didn’t even want to unpack. She soon found new life with other seniors, saw that although she needed a wheelchair at times, she was still better off than many. Her outlook was brightened by being with others her own age. They had so much in common. The good old days stories were shared with those who understood the tough times of WWII, the sex appeal of a young Frank Sinatra, etc.
    I used to say good-bye to her after a visit with a kiss to the top of her head. “Thanks for living so long, Mom.” I was able to say that for two more years. I’m so glad I voiced my appreciation. Don’t forget to do the same for others you love.

    • Your story is wonderful, Dani. I’m so glad you had those last wonderful years with your mom. It’s funny you described the kiss good-bye on the forehead. That’s exactly the way I leave Freda. That and the promise that I’ll be back in a few days….

  7. A good post, Mimi. I enjoyed reading it.
    My mom loved her assisted living facility where she moved. I think it depends upon the facility and upon the gregariousness of the elderly. I read that if you want to know about a facility, check with the nearby fire station, aid cars. They know the good ones.

    My father in law wanted me to move to Alaska and take care of him his last days (5 years), and I told him he had to move in with us in Kirkland. He stayed there a week until he had a stroke, then allowed us to move him down where I could take care of him. His mind stayed alert, and he was with us until his heart gave out. A WW2 vet and an Alaskan pioneer, I am very proud of him.

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