Sixty something: Bad things come in fours 151



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Hello sixty somethings. Well, since my last rantings I have spent another stint in hospital. I am going to call this hospital “the three day” hospital. It seems, no matter what you go in there with, they try not to keep you in there longer than three days.  However, the emergency department, although I was there nine hours, was still a nicer place to be than “that other ward” I was in before and the ward I was taken to for my three day visit was lovely, with friendly and helpful nurses and doctors.

It is nearly three months now since my hip replacement surgery. I know they say bad things come in threes, but if you count the scathing text message from my son this past week, I am up to four.

1. My hip surgery with all the wrong meds they saw fit to administer to me despite my protests.

2. Then home a week and shingles so bad it looked as though I had been beaten up.

3. Just when I thought I was well on the way to recovery I became quite ill over night it seemed and I had developed deep vein thrombosis. A clot had escaped to my lungs so it was very scary. Of course this meant my breathing suffered and my leg was, and still is, the size of a rugby player’s leg.

4. Then came the text from my son. I asked him to step up to the plate and help me out for a few weeks with the odd appointment I had with various doctors. I have registered with various places for transport aid, but more often than not, they can’t help. My son is only working part time and it would only be an hour here and there over the next three weeks, or until I can drive. He has made it quite clear that he is not my best friend or carer and I need to see about going into an old people’s home. I am 62 and normally quite capable of taking care of myself. I guess I have to be his best friend to expect anything from him. This leads me to think what will happen to me if eventually I do need assistance in old age, which is a long way off but you have to be ready. His message to me certainly made me realise as far as he was concerned, he would never be helping me. Does anyone else out there have this problem with their kids? In bringing up our children, do we forget to teach them compassion and caring? I thought I had done that.

So what do we do if we have no one to grow old with? What do we do if our finances are such that we won’t be able to live in any sort of comfort as we age? How do we manage as we are getting older when we need that little bit of extra help occasionally? I have exhausted all the community services and it seems they are way over-stretched and more often than not cannot assist. A meagre pension does not help. I don’t often need help, but I always thought I could rely on my son if I did. I have never had to ask him before, so I guess I won’t be asking him again.

I believe I must not be the only person out there who has no one to be there when you really need them. I’m guessing there are a lot more of us living on the poverty line than will admit and if we have something like the unlucky health things happen that I am experiencing, what do we do, where do we look for this help, some kindness, some understanding if we can’t rely on family?

Life is not always what we want it to be and try as we might, sometimes life throws us little curve balls. I never in my wildest dreams thought I would not be able to rely on my family, no matter what. I used to feel sorry for people I knew when they were relating stories about the way they were treated by family. Now, I am one of the many it seems. Money, or lack of, doesn’t help a situation either. 

So sixty somethings, those of you out there in similar situations, have you a back up plan for the future? What do you think will happen in 10 or 20 years to people like us? What can we do that we haven’t already done? How do you make your children see that a little help does not mean their lives are ruined? How do you get over the fact that the child you have given your life to, doesn’t care a Fig?

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Fran Spears

Born in 1953. Came to Hobart from the north west coast of Tassie to be closer to my son as I have mild chronic bronchitis. Mild and chronic in same sentence – even that makes me laugh. Have just completed and passed my diploma in Public Relations. Love to write and have lead a reasonably interesting life. My motto: "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn!"

  1. contact your local age concern organization – they may be able to help out – and no, you are not alone in this at all – just some are too proud to admit it – hope things pick up for you, I really do!

  2. I am so sorry you have had this reaction from your son. I am in a similar situation, on my own but no kids. I fully expect that I will be dispatched post haste to the nursing home as soon as my health starts to fail. I have friends who will offer to help when they can, which is wonderful – but I would never ask them. I am and always have been happy to step up for extended family and friends if needed.

  3. Your son is not an exception and I have felt alone sometimes. I think children of a certain age feel burdened by lack of employment etc and ageing parents just seem like an additional burden. I think you need help and you need to turn to people who can listen and put you in touch with the right people. Chin up and hugs x

  4. Yes I often wonder about those with no assets will do when they are older. I don’t want my children to look after me. I am in a retirement estate & hope to stay there the rest of my life but if not then a care facility. It is documented in an Advanced Care Directive.

  5. Know the feeling Never had kids. Relatives are getting too eldery to help. I have asked my neighbor, cousin and people I worked with for help. Hate doing it. There is an agency that can help but they charge $20.00 hour so they are the last resort or transportation to surgery . I’ve had more help offers from facebook friends that live in the area. I only know them from facebook but they seem to be more helpful than family.

  6. Please speak to your local council. St vinnies to assist with food parcel moral support. Schools are looking for people to assist with support reading tuckshop volunteers lunch is provided meals on wheels volunteer once a month if you can.

  7. I suppose I am naive to this situation which needs to be addressed. Organisation funded by the government to assist people in need with no cost to them

  8. Hi I expect my son to help me out in my old age. I think that it is a priviledge to look after someone you love. I looked after my son and assisted financially until he was almost 27 years old and I do not think that expecting him to help me out in my old age is too much to ask. He will inherit everything we as his parents have worked for for the last 40 years and it is a small price to pay driving someone to appointments, helping with grocery shopping and including us in his family life. The responsibility for ones parents does not belong to society but to the family. Step up to the plate and take on the responsibility of caring for your loved ones the way they cared for you. As to those of you who do not have children ask for help from nieces and nephews, you will be surprised by what they may have to offer.

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  9. I am so sorry for what you are experiencing and I would be extremely disappointed if my family did that to me. I don’t know what state you live in, but if you are in Perth I would happily help out. Thinking of you and hoping things improve for you.

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