Wednesday, June 18, 2008


So this is where my grandparents are living now. It is about an hour from here in the town of Florence, home of the federal Supermax prison, housing the Unabomber, Oklahoma City bombers, etc. But you can't see the prison from their home - it is really outside of town.

They have basically a dorm room situation - one room, with a bathroom but the showers/baths are elsewhere, I'm guessing for safety of many residents who can't handle that part alone. The staff is very nice and there are tons of activities and shopping trips, etc. But it surely is an adjustment and I hope they will feel at home and be happy, God willing. I know they want to live on their own but grandma is paralyzed and grandpa has some dementia and they need around the clock monitoring and care to some extent. They just got in Monday night and we went to visit them on Tuesday. Grandpa had met and talked to many other residents but grandma had stayed in bed except for a trip to the doctor. They both said their new doctor is very pleasant and good and they liked the young man who took them to the doctor as well.

I come from a family whose views are that they do not want to burden the children with caring for them when they are too old to care for themselves. For them to stay with family, someone would have to be able to quit work and be with them full time. In Alabama, my uncle was doing that but he is dying from cancer and so a new arrangement had to made. Sometimes my grandparents still think they can live on their own and "manage", but in truth grandpa can't carry grandma and she can't go to the bathroom or anywhere on her own because she is too weak to move or lift herself. And he gets confused and gets lost. Islam really emphasizes carrying for parents in old age. Because of this event, I have had to think about what that means. Just dumping them in a facility and forgetting about them is certainly not right, but in some cases leaving them at home to fend for themselves or to receive in adequate care from family isn't right either. Everyone wants to be at home, but very few can afford it when medical issues become severe. And any facility your family might go to really needs to be checked out - some places do a poor job and neglect or harm the residents. We think this facility is a good loving place, insha'allah. I have been happy to see that they have many visitors every day - usually a full log page worth, even on week days. I have not been in a position to make any of the decisions about what would happen to my grandparents but someday I may need to make such decisions for my parents, or some family member who has a terrible accident or who knows what.

I would be happy to hear from others who've had this experience and their thoughts on it all.

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