The programme which I wrote about yesterday gave rise to several thoughts about my own care in the future, if a time comes when I can no longer live independently. I made notes and here is the message I want to leave for my sons:
TO MY SONS
If I become incapable of looking after myself:
I would not expect any of you to take care of me in your own home. You must be committed to the future, rather than the past; that is nature’s way, however hard.
But if I have to go into care, please don’t abandon me there. If I have not been able to arrange my own care, try to put me somewhere where you can visit me regularly, if not necessarily often.
Remember I am still the person you have known all your life and who has loved you all your life, and you are likely to be the most important thing in my life at this stage.
Don’t lie to me and say I will get better and come home if I won’t. The truth between us can be used positively, while lies are more likely to create suspicion than to reassure.
If I no longer have my wits:
DON’T let anyone leave me parked in front of a TV which is permanently on, and over which I have no control. The end of life needs to be faced with a quiet mind. The playing of good music on occasions may be a good thing however.
If you talk to others in my presence, do so as though I can hear what you say – who knows, maybe I can.
Just be content to be with me at times – you don’t have to talk all the time to be companionable and give comfort, and it will take so much of your energy if I cannot respond.
At the end:
If you possibly can, be there with me and hold my hand, so that I can feel your loving presence as I go.