FROM OUR BLOG

Uncomfortable thoughts and discomforting realities

Jan 17, 2023

For those of us no longer so young and residing in Kenton; and for those whose parents do.
Uncomfortable thoughts and discomforting realities for those of us no longer so young and residing in Kenton; and for those whose parents do. There are minimal medical facilities when it comes to emergencies, and as one ages, emergencies become increasingly likely. So what happens if you, or aged parents, are confronted by the reality of that golden hour?

At the first 2023 meeting of the Dementia Support Group, our own good doctor, Eleanor Galpin, spoke movingly of the differences between normal aging and dementia. Drawing not only on clinical experience in her practice but also on her personal experience with her mother and grandmother, Eleanor told how symptoms of dementia are often concealed from acquaintances, with only close family being privy to the confabulation and covering. In affectionate and amusing anecdotes, she described the progressive and persistent symptoms of the brain failure that accompanies dementia.

But what will remain writ large for me, was Eleanor’s heartfelt call for those difficult conversations between adult child and aging parent: What do you want to happen in the event of a catastrophic medical emergency? A rush to A&E in PE? With all possible medical and/or surgical interventions to stave off the final moment? Which could be inevitable. Or a peaceful end to all the travail in one’s own home and bed, made as comfortable as possible and with one’s loved ones close by.

Eleanor stressed the importance of family discussion, open and honest, about this inevitable reality, with perhaps a written living will. At the very least, both parent and child should be aware of the wishes of their loved ones.

Have the difficult conversation, make the difficult decisions, before it’s too late – and then get on with your life.

And so Eleanor’s message was not for the members of this group alone, but for all of us to share.

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