Caring for the disabled or elderly

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David1949
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Caring for the disabled or elderly

Post by David1949 »

Ever since I was Dxed with MS I've thought about what my final years would be like. Now I'm 71 and I need a walker to get around. My wife is 69 and has arthritis. It would not be fair to put the burden of caring for me on her. I also have no desire to spend my final years in a nursing home nor would I want to squander our savings on it. So I've thought that I might choose suicide when I get bad off. I'm a gun owner so I could do it that way if I wanted to. But I have religious reasons for not wanting to do it. I'd hate to think that the last thing I did in life would condemn me to hell. Also a bullet to the head is messy. I wouldn't want my relatives to find me with my brains splattered across the wall. And I would have to do it while I was still physically able to.

But this is a much more widespread problem than just me.
The problem is that caring for elderly or disabled people is beyond the ability of most families.
Currently people either care for family members by themselves or with paid caregivers or with nursing homes or assisted living facilities. The amount of care required may be more than most people can manage or pay for. The average cost nationally for a nursing home is $8300 per month (over $100,000 per year) according to this source https://www.nursinghomeabusecenter.org/ ... ing-homes/. And it can be much higher in some states. The government already funds much of it but the government is $27 trillion in debt. ($83000 per citizen). Piling on more debt could plunge the country into bankruptcy.

Maybe assisted suicide would help. The patient could gather their loved ones around. Kiss them goodbye and then be given a shot that would put them peacefully to sleep never to awaken again. That's a much more gentle way and allows the patient to wait a little longer to do it. But there is still the religious issue for those of us who are religious. Still it could be a solution for those who are not religious.

So what do you think should be done?

-More government funding for nursing homes?
-Assisted suicide option for competent individuals who want it?
-Other -Does anyone have any out-of-the- box ideas?
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Scott1
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Re: Caring for the disabled or elderly

Post by Scott1 »

Hi David,

Your post deserves an answer, but I don't really know what to say. Everything you have said has a real, concrete basis and the issues aren't going to magically disappear.
I suppose, it firstly comes down to quality of life and how you measure that. Then it will be a proper consideration of how your decision affects others. Often that is not at all a "cut and dried" outcome.
The first thought I had is this is a deeply personal issue so how it affects your country's economic well being shouldn't be a consideration at all. It should only be about you and the people in your life.
Government support for nursing homes is a global problem. Nearly every developed country has an ageing population, a trend to nuclear families and a fragmentation of society that leaves older people excluded.
Excluding religious issues, assisted suicide still doesn't appeal to me. I'm left asking the question "what else can be done before that?"
Although it's not specific to MS, there are still scientists looking at how we extend our useful, high quality lives. That is probably the topic that endlessly burns in my mind. In contrast to that, I don't see standard medical practices or even the choices most people make are focused on living each day to the best of our capabilities. Too many people say "no" before they say "why not". We all do it, often to ourselves.
My "out-of-the -box" idea would be to make a list of all the things you wanted to do and check if you have done them. If it's full of unfilled ideas, ask "why not" and don't accept "no" for an answer. Just try to do them one at a time. No matter what happens, at least you can say "I tried that".
Regards,
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NHE
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Re: Caring for the disabled or elderly

Post by NHE »

Hi David,
It's been my observation that once people with MS start using a walker that it's easy for the rate of disability progression to accelerate. If you're not already doing a physical therapy program, then I suggest that you begin one as soon as possible. Even something as simple as riding an exercise bike will help maintain and potentially improve your mobility by preserving your muscle function and preventing atrophy.
David1949
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Re: Caring for the disabled or elderly

Post by David1949 »

Thank you both for your thoughtful replys.

Dave
David1949
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Re: Caring for the disabled or elderly

Post by David1949 »

NHE You're right about that. I do seem to be progressing more rapidly especially now that the weather is cold and I don't get outside much. And I am spending more time sitting on my posterior instead of exercising. So I'm starting to ride the exercise bike now. Also I'll see if my doctor will prescribe physical therapy.
Jaded
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Re: Caring for the disabled or elderly

Post by Jaded »

I just read your post David and I am glad that you have had some responses that are much better than anything I could offer.

The cold does seem to impact me too, and it is disheartening. But I agree with NHE - keeping up some physical therapy helps. It helps mentally too - and if you can get out to a local gym for some physical therapy the benefits of going outside would compound that.

We all have to care for people in our lives - it is part of life although nowadays it can seem a burden rather than a privilege. I do understand your thoughts and while I am happy to help with my mum's care, like you I would feel very different about being the person cared for.
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