Dear Margo: When Granny Knows Best

Margo-Howard_tall10Margo Howard’s advice

When Granny Knows Best

Dear Margo: My grandmother is 99 years old and lives alone in her apartment. For a 99-year-old, she is incredibly sharp, and her health is remarkably good — except that she falls frequently. It’s clear that she can no longer walk unassisted. She has a part-time aide who comes in a few hours a week, and her sister (also in her 90s) lives in the same building. When she falls, she slowly drags herself to a phone and calls her sister, who then must call a building employee for help. We don’t know how often she’s falling, but we know she has knocked out some teeth this way and has injured her back and hip.

I love her immensely, but she is the most stubborn woman I know. She has a Life Alert pendant but refuses to use it. We tried to get her to agree to a nursing home, but she adamantly refused, so we dropped it. She will not agree to full-time help, saying she will not let “strangers” into her home. She gets very defensive and changes the subject. She says if she falls and can’t get up, then she is OK dying that way. We have tried to explain to her how selfish it is not to think about the person who finds her. Is there anything we can do to force the issue, or do we have to accept the fact that she wants to die alone on the floor of her apartment? — Frightened

Dear Fright: I can already envision the mail I will get saying, “Are you nuts?” but this is my honest opinion. Your beloved granny is almost 100 years old. She is not demented, chooses not to use her Life Alert and has announced she is OK with dying, even if it’s on the floor. The point you make about her being selfish in not thinking about the person who finds her on the floor is not particularly persuasive. (She could very well die in her bed, and the shock of finding her would be the same.)

What may be selfish is not really listening to her. Maybe she is simply tired and ready to go. You say she has all of her marbles and yet refuses a nursing home or live-in help. Try to hear her and accept her wishes. She may have brittle bones and fewer teeth, but she has her autonomy, and I think she should be allowed to maintain it. Your situation is a real-life case of “Whose Life Is It, Anyway?” — Margo, problematically

Then and Now

Dear Readers: Many people tell me they’re sure the letters in advice columns today have to be wilder and racier than “in the old days” — if only because of the Internet. Finding human nature mostly unchanged, I tend to disagree. I went rooting around in my mother’s files to prove my point, and I offer you this letter from 1999. It was not exactly a problem, but rather a reader commenting on “unusual behavior.”

Dear Ann Landers: The most hilarious column you ever wrote helped me turn the corner when I was seriously ill several years ago. Mine is dog-eared. Would you please reprint the letter about sex and Batman? — A St. Petersburg, Fla., Fan

Dear St. Pete: Here it is.

A couple sitting on their back porch enjoying a lovely summer evening was startled by screams for help coming from their neighbors’ house. After dialing 911 and arming themselves with a baseball bat, the couple proceeded to their neighbors’ to assist in any way they could. As luck would have it, the front door was unlocked, and so they walked right in. They followed the frantic calls for help to an upstairs bedroom, where they found the neighbor lady stark naked, tied hand and foot to her bed. On the floor lay her husband, unconscious, wearing a Batman cape and mask.

It became apparent that the couple was into both bondage and fantasies. Mr. Batman had attempted to leap from the dresser onto the bed, but in the process he bumped his head on the ceiling fan and went out like a light. The next-door couple untied Mrs. Batman, revived Mr. Batman and took him to the hospital, where he was treated for a superficial head injury and released. This certainly gives new meaning to the term “safe sex.”

* * *

Dear Margo is written by Margo Howard, Ann Landers’ daughter. All letters must be sent via the online form at Due to a high volume of e-mail, not all letters will be answered.


Every Thursday and Friday, you can find “Dear Margo” and her latest words of wisdom on wowOwow

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52 Responses so far.

  1. avatar bethan7 says:

    Lw1- she should research other alert pendants. My grandma had a stroke several years ago and had trouble walking too. The pendant she has goes off automatically if there’s a sudden shift, alerting the company. This would be a compromise they can both live with.

  2. avatar blue tooth says:

    I think what Margo’s getting at is that her grandmother doesn’t want to notify anyone special when she falls. She’s tired and she wants to die in her home when the time comes. Margo’s saying that the young ones aren’t listening to the grandmother’s wishes. Maybe what her kids should be doing is sitting down with her and asking her what her end-of-life planning is like, and what her end-of-life wishes are. From having an open-ended discussion where they’re actually listening to her, they should get a much clearer, more detailed picture of what her wishes are, and avoid any misunderstandings and hurt feelings. Maybe there’s a social worker at the local hospital who could facilitate that kind of conversation.

    • avatar Lym BO says:

      The local senior citizen organization should have a social worker or someone on hand to discuss concerns. Hospital social workers can barely handle the load they carry. 🙂

    • avatar Lynde says:

      Excellent comment Blue

  3. avatar Katharine Gray says:

    LW#1: I don’t necessarily disagree with Margo and even if I did, there is nothing you can do if Granny refuses to cooperate with live-in help or a life-alert type device. She may be depressed and just doesn’t care and maybe there is some way you could convince her to see her doctor about that but really….at 99….are we going to put her on anti-depressants? The only other thing I can think of that might be persuasive is to tell her is that if she falls and breaks a hip, she probably won’t die but just lie there in excruciating pain until someone finds her, then she will probably permanently disabled and in serious pain for the rest of her life. I would point out that even if she is in a nursing home, and a very good one, unless she is restrained, she can fall walking to the communal meal and break her hip. In fact, my mother did just that. We didn’t want to restrain her and she got up one night to use the bathroom and fell. It ultimately led to her death as she was just too weak to fight through it. So really…if a serious fall is going to happen…its going to be bad for her wherever she is. The benefit of a life alert or similar device is that help can get to her very quickly and relieve her pain. So…I would focus on that aspect and maybe that will convince her to wear her life alert button.

    • avatar martina says:

      Katharine, Something else to consider is, was the home your mother was in even allowed to restrain her? My mother who is paralyzed on her right side and in a chair fell out of her chair reaching for something on the floor and fractured her femur. Since my mother is the type to want to pick up every little speck of dirt she sees on the floor, we begged the home to use a seat belt so that it wouldn’t happen again and by the State of PA’s rules, they are not allowed to. So yes, going into a home is not going to guarantee that your family member is not going to fall.

    • avatar kseeley says:

      fyi – nursing homes don’t restrain people to keep them from falling anymore. it’s illegal. in fact – nursing homes don’t restrain people anymore. so if she’s going to fall – it doesn’t much matter where she is, she’s going to fall. she might get found faster in a nursing home – but she doesn’t want to go. and the injury would be the same regardless. let her live and die the way she wants to. we have the idea that people are going to live forever, and it’s just not true. let people be as happy as they can as long as they can. and then let it go. because it sounds like if she DOES fall and break a hip, she would prefer to die of it – and she would, eventually – than live and be disabled, because at 99, recovery from a broken hip just doesn’t really happen.

      • avatar dcarpend says:

        The problem is that it could be a very prolonged and excruciating death. Unless she hit her head, she very likely would lie there on the floor in horrible pain for a couple of days until she died of dehydration. Not a nice way to go, and I suspect she hasn’t really given the probability of this consideration. My father was determined to die at home — and he did — but he did, indeed, have life alert, a walker, and for the last 6 weeks he had nursing care. (He’d been very smart about long term care insurance.)

        It’s one thing to be ready to go. It’s another to put yourself at risk for a slow and agonizing death.

    • avatar dcarpend says:

      If Granny is depressed, why not put her on antidepressants? She’s old, so she may as well spend her final months or years feeling lousy? Where’s the logic in that?

      I’d like to know why the old lady isn’t using a walker to get around, or at the very least a cane. My father started falling a lot maybe 5 years before he died; he had nerve damage in his legs. It took some convincing, but after he fell into his glass coffee table, shattering it (and miraculously sustaining no cuts) we finally got him to use a cane, and eventually a walker. He wound up liking the walker because it had pockets and a drink holder; he could easily carry a beverage back to his den.

      His initial argument against a cane was kind of funny — he told me he didn’t want to feel like “a feeble old man.” We were close enough and honest enough with one another that I said, “Hey, Dad — clue phone. It’s for you.”

  4. avatar Ariana says:

    LW#1: It’s apparent your grandmother wants to remain as independent as she can to the end. Why not make some suggestions along those lines instead then. Look into some modern conveniences. Does she have a walker? Would a different model help her better? Install some hand-rails (by the front door, bed, bathroom, etc.). Get a lift for the bathtub, or install one of which has a side door. Put down non-slip mats or flooring in the bathroom. Maybe put some low foot stools within reach she can crawl to and maybe she’d be able to pull herself up on. I’m sure other people would have more ideas…

    • avatar Katharine Gray says:

      Ariana…you make great points…get the apartment as safe as can be so she can stay there. A dear friend of my mother’s who I have become very close to over the past 5 years, was recently *forced* by her family to give up her townhouse and go to an assisted living facility. She is of very sound mind and very active for her almost 90 years. She is completely devastated and very depressed at losing her independence but has conceded to her children’s wishes. I wished they had explored other options for her because I think she wants to give up. She is a very positive person normally and its so hard to see her so unhappy.

      • avatar Katharine Gray says:

        And what about having her carry a cell phone on her person! Maybe the phone wouldn’t have the *old and helpless* vibe that the life alert button does.

        • avatar butterfly55 says:

          The cell phone is my mother’s answer, she had the life alert and wouldn’t wear it. The phone makes her feel “younger”.

        • avatar Lym BO says:

          I was going to suggest the same thing. 🙂 Great minds… At least, with a cell phone, she has the option to use it if she desires to do so. To me, there would be nothing worse than laying there in pain & have the need to use the restroom. Remind her that often what we *think* we would do or want in a given situation is not always what we want when presented with the situation.
          The most common household reason for a fall is throw rugs so you may encourage her to get rid of those if there are any.

        • avatar Karin Sanford says:

          We had my Mom carry a cell phone in her pocket (robe, pants, etc), and it was a great solution (she wouldn’t use the alert thing either). Get a lightweight one and program 911 and also neighbors.

  5. avatar wlaccma says:

    Please let this women do what she wants. Don’t worry about her. Let her die the way she wants to die. She has obviously had a nice long life and is ready to go. Believe her when she says she wants to stay there and die there.

  6. avatar LuckySeven says:

    While I agree, mostly, with letting Grandma go as she pleases, her refusal of more help may still be a burden. These “building employees” who are called for help whenever she falls–is this supposed to be part of their job? Are they protected legally if they are unable to come when needed or if Grandma is accidentally injured further in their attempts to help? That they are willing to help doesn’t mean that it’s fair to ask, and these elderly sisters may actually be relying on them for things that should be done by a professional caretaker.

    • avatar clutzycook says:

      I’m wondering if she lives in one of those “independant living” facilities for seniors that has qualified staff available but generally don’t come by unless something’s wrong.

    • avatar mabel says:

      I had the same thought, Lucky. If she wanted to die alone on the floor, that would be her business. The fact that she keeps calling people to get her up OFF the floor makes it their business. The LW didn’t know how often she falls, and if it’s once in a while it’s one thing, but if she needs somebody to pick her up off the floor a couple of times a week this is an issue that needs to be addressed. As a volunteer EMT, I used to have a patient who used his Life Alert pendant to get an ambulance crew to pick him up off the floor sometimes twice a day, almost every day. Adult Protective Services was finally brought in. Maybe Grandma isn’t anywhere near this level of need, but if she is (and the LW should find out by talking to those building employees), I would argue that she does NOT have the right to continue this. As the old saw goes, the right to swing your fist ends where your neighbor’s nose begins.

  7. avatar Belinda Joy says:

    Letter #1 – But it is clear she IS NOT in full control of her faculties. The mere fact that she said if she falls and ends up dying where she lay – so be it – tells you she is not all there. Would we except that response from someone in their 20’s, 30’s. 50’s or 60’s? No. So why accept that from her simply because she is in her 90’s?

    I would suggest that this letter writer get in touch immediately with Adult Social Services in her community and take steps to have her placed in a nursing home. She sounds like a loner and in her later years wouldn’t it be a blessing to be around others, life, laughter and love?

    • avatar butterfly55 says:

      My mother is in a nursing home right now on a temporary basis. No it would not be a blessing. If you are the type that wants to be left alone to be suddenly thrown into that mess of all types would be hell on wheels!

    • avatar martina says:

      My mother is in what is considered to be a top rated home. It’s more like life, laughter, love and misery. How many times do I walk down the hall to hear “miss, miss, can you help me” because they don’t understand that I’m not an aide or nurse. More than half of them are suffering from the beginnings of dementia to being disabled. My mother has some judgement issues and can’t speak because of her stroke but is fully cognizant of what is going on and I see how she has become withdrawn and is slowly deteriorating because of being there. As much as those people love her (and they really do) she would be much better off both physically and mentally if she could be in her own home.

    • avatar Ariana says:

      Belinda – that is the kind of off-hand remark that people make when they’re tired of being badgered to death by their relatives. The basis of that remark is not enough to take stick someone against their will into a nursing home, who according to the LW still has all her faculties, but only has trouble walking.

      The LW’s have lots of other options open to them before that drastic step needs to be taken.

    • avatar JCF4612 says:

      Given this comment, clearly you are not control of YOUR faculties. In her later years? The woman is 99, and not demented. She’s living the life she wants in the same building with her sister … and you want to screw it up for her? Drag in social services, too? Get real.

    • avatar QuietGitl says:

      So it is “wrong” to be a loner? To enjoy one’s own company? Being a loner does not mean that one doesn’t enjoy life, laughter and love, we just don’t need it 24/7. We just need smaller sips.
      By your standard, I am not in full control of my faculties-because I don’t intent to grab every resource to extend my life. At 54 I have no intention of allowing any life extending measure when I am in my 70-80-90’s (should I be around so long). While dementia does not seem to be a family heritage, I have already determined that should I be in a position that it is recommended that I enter a nursing home, I will end it. That is not life. That is merely existence. My mother is 90 and I am living with her so that she can live in her own home as long as she wants. My aunt and uncle have moved into a Senior center and my aunt hates it. My 92 year old aunt just bought a smaller house, because her 1900 Victorian was simply too big.
      Belinda Joy, I don’t know your life experiences, but you seem very hard, and because of that attitude, very young and naive. I don’t believe that to be the case, which is even sadder. You can not put yourself into another’s shoes. You can not learn from another’s mistakes. You will always have to make your own mistakes.

  8. avatar Cindy M says:

    #1: I agree with Ariana (above). A walker, etc. She won’t use those? This woman might indeed get her wish…of lying on the floor for days, dying slowly and painfully. :- I work medical and it’s not pretty to hear about.

    #2: It came as a shock to me, all the lurid sex pulp novels (including homoerotica) of the late 1950s through the late ’60s especially. To hear my parents while growing up (in the 1970s), I thought all of America was “The Andy Griffith Show” until all hell unexplicably broke out beginning in 1978 or thereabouts. :-p

  9. avatar Ariana says:

    #2: Wait… 1999 is now considered the ‘old days’? OMG! :-O

    • avatar Lym BO says:

      Seriously! I was expecting something from the 1940s.

    • avatar Kriss says:

      yeah, I was thinking the same thing.

      I would have been more impressed if they had supplied something from the 1950s.

    • avatar callie123 says:

      I thought the same thing when I saw the date of the letter. I was expecting a letter from a much later date (like one from the ’60s or ’70s) and was NOT pleasantly surprised to see a letter dated 1999.
      I was a freshman in high school in’99 & while at times it may seem like a long time ago, it really isn’t and it certainly isn’t an “in the old days” time period. While the Internet may not have been as popular or as fast (I still remember how long it would take for the dial-up connection at home to finally connect) it was definitely around and people had cellphones “back then”.

      • avatar Lila says:

        Aw, geez. A HS freshman in 1999? I hesitate to reveal where I was in 1999… Suffice to say I actually remember when the term “safe sex” was popularized in the media some 15 years or so before that letter, in reference to the AIDS epidemic. I also lived many years into my adult life before cell phones… And come to think of it, I was well into my teens before I saw my first microwave oven.

        Must be time to get an alert pendant. Never mind that I am scarcely half the age of LW1’s crotchety old gramma (more power to her!).

  10. avatar KDM says:

    My grandmother too was a very independent woman when she was 93 voluntarily handed the keys to her car to my dad ,my worked about 15mins away would visit her every day after work they had installed an alarm system for her one night she fell and broke her arm my dad hired a home help for her during the day as time went on 2 months later she fell and broke her other arm at this point my had no chioce but to have put into a nursing home ( she refused to go live with my dad ,didn’t want to be a burden) she never was burden to anyone she had Parkinson which robbed her of ability to speak, but her mind was still sharp as a tack, she passed at the ripe young age of 95 from a fall breaking her hip. Seek advice from the an “At risk adult” organization as another writer has mentioned .

  11. avatar JCF4612 says:

    LW1) Bravo, Margo!

    LW2) Another creative, if dated, recycling job.

  12. avatar Artemesia says:

    My mother died in her own bed at 93 the week before we were to move her to a retirement residence near my brother and across the country. She had always been very clear about her desire for independence and staying put — we had persuaded her to put a deposit down for an assisted living facility near her but she always had an excuse when spots became available. My brother wanted to force the move; I felt my mother was entitled to live the life she wanted to live as long as she was mentally there.

    What precipitated the move to which she agreed was that she was becoming blind and she really couldn’t manage anymore. Both my brother and I lived far away — me 2000 miles and he 3000 miles so we could not provide care without her moving. I believe the stress of the move was too much for her and that if she could have remained she probably had a few more months or years.

    Adults get to make their choices and family should honor those choices as best they can. I am sorry my mother died — and miss her very much. I had looked forward to being old ladies together and I know she would have loved extended visits in our new place. We were also considering retiring to her city before her death. But I am glad she got to live her end of life on her own terms which was her right.

    • avatar JCF4612 says:

      Artemesia — My condolences for the loss of your mother. Clearly she was in control until the end despite her sad loss of vision. I feel your position on her right to live where and the way she wanted was correct. She did things her way.

  13. avatar D C says:

    I have no close family that lived that long, but on my husband’s side there are several. His paternal grandmother was the fiercely independent type and at 94, as she was helping her 89 year old neighbor back across the street, both ladies were hit by a car. She lived 4 more days after being knocked about 40 feet into a ditch. Her street had a slight hill, and the driver had the sun in her eyes as she was topping the hill and never saw them. It was tragic… she went to their church.

    Anyway… Grandma would have preferred to die on the floor than have to be in a nursing home. The family had gotten “helpers” to clean the house and make sure she took her medicine and such, but she always kicked them out.

    My father in law is now 86, and still runs like the Everready Bunny and takes care of his frail 88 year old second wife (my mother in law passed in ’97). Nobody says it, but we all think he should have married a MUCH younger woman to keep up with him.

  14. avatar Mark Sikkila says:

    In her last years, my mother had difficulty moving around. She had to go to dialysis three days a week, and as her strength diminished, my sisters gently suggested a nearby community for senior citizens. She refused, and stayed in her house until the day she died. Since she was born in that house, I could understand her wish. Now that she has been gone almost eight years, I understand it even more, as moving meant giving up her independence as well as the memories embedded in every inch of the home she knew as a ten-year old girl raised by her grandparents, as a high school student, as a bride and as a wife and mother, as a widow, and as an independent senior citizen. Suggesting she move away from the only home she had ever known was a practical move, as my sisters lived nearby and had the burden of caring for her. Now, after her death, I understand her decision even more; her surroundings represented her entire life and the idea of giving up her home was more disheartening than she could stand.

    I think families should do all they can to insure that senior citizens can continue independent lives in familiar surroundings as long as possible.

  15. avatar Robert S says:

    LW2: When playing out a fantasy like Mr. and Mrs. Batman here, you should always have a safe phrase such as “Honey, wake up” or “Call 911”.

    • avatar Ariana says:

      Safe word is a good thing to have, but I’m not sure if ‘Honey wake up’ will work so well when your partner is already knocked out cold 😀

  16. avatar SuzetteC says:

    LW2: I always thought the Batman thing was an urban legend. It has all the earmarks of one.

    • avatar Ariana says:

      It is, it’s listed on Snopes as a legend. That page didn’t exist back in 1999 though, so Ann couldn’t run it through her BS detector 😀

      • avatar Kimiko says:

        Ariana: what BS detector? For an otherwise intelligent woman who prided herself on her ability to sniff out fake letters, Ann Landers was incredibly gullible when it came to urban legends. The $50 Porsche, the naked lady interrupted by a repairman while doing her laundry, the child embedded in the drunk driver’s grille–she printed all of those tall tales, and more, in her column as if they were all true stories.

        True, she didn’t have the Snopes website to consult. But before there was Snopes, there was Jan Harold Brunvand, a folklorist at the University of Utah, who published several books about urban legends. Evidently Ann never read them.

  17. avatar Jean B says:

    LW2: That is hysterical.

    LW1: You stated “We have tried to explain to her how selfish it is not to think about the person who finds her.” While I do agree it is traumatizing to find someone dead, it is irrelevant how he or she is found. I am going to present a different scenario, one that is more serious in nature; all I ask is that you think about it. A person is dying of cancer, it is obviously the last stages and this person wishes for the pain to end (which, of course, means the end of their life). Some of the family respects their wishes to stop the cancer treatment and only have medication for the pain. Others in the family argue against this, saying it is selfish for the cancer patient to want to leave them. Here is my question to you, who is the more selfish?

    People faced with end of life decisions face the most difficult decision they have ever made. My father, about 2.5 years before he died, presented this question to my two siblings and me, but he did it separately. Without knowing the responses of the others, we each told him that we would support whatever decision he made. When the time did come, and Daddy accepted that there was nothing more the doctors could do, he stopped treatment; quality of life over quantity of time. As much as it pained all of us, and our children, and as much as we did not want to lose him, we understood that he was the one dealing with this and always in so much pain. It would have been very selfish of us to insist he continue treatment so that he could be there for us.

    Now another scenario a bit closer to your situation: my grandfather did die from a fall. He was still quite mobile though required help with a few things. He also had a part-time health care worker. One year and three weeks to the day after grandma passed from a long illness, my grandfather was in the bathroom, fell and hit his head on the porcelain sink. I don’t know for sure, but it is my hope that he died quickly. He was in his own home, the house he was born and raised in, built by his father and grandfather, and he raised his own family in. It was a fluke that he fell because he was not having balance issues that we know of, and he was otherwise fairly healthy. These things happen and there is nothing we can do to prevent it. Your grandmother is happy in her home and from what you put in your letter, she is the type that if she were placed in a nursing home she would be so unhappy she would die shortly after moving in anyway. My opinion is that it is selfish of anyone else to ask her to do something that would make her so unhappy.

  18. avatar Scrapper79 says:

    I don’t normally post comments, but felt compelled to for LW#1.

    My grandmother was in her early 80s and in great health, and split her time between the home she owned in my hometown and her husband’s home about an hour away (my step-grandfather). She ended up getting pneumonia and didn’t go to the doctor for treatment (I’ve heard that the husband didn’t think she was “that” sick and wouldn’t take her, but that’s only rumor and off-subject anyway). Finally, my uncle visited her, realized she was very sick and had an ambulance come. She spent more than a month in the hospital and was doing “OK”. Finally, it was decided among her children and the husband that she needed to go to a nursing home to finish recuperating. She had stated many, many times that she would never go to a nursing home. The evening before she was to be released from the hospital and be transported to the nursing home, she had a massive heart attack and passed.

    Long story, short… listen to your grandmother. She wants to be in her own home and does not want to go to a nursing home. Spend her last days on earth with her by enjoying her company, not by nagging her or arguing with her. (Although I would suggest the same things that Ariana pointed out above ~ new walker, hand rails, etc. – if you can make her home a little safer for her, then there will be some peace of mind)

  19. avatar Susan JH says:

    LW1 — The assertion that Granny’s being selfish because she is not thinking of the people who might find her dead is absurd. The selfish ones are the ones who are trying to insist on her doing something “for her own good” when it seems like they are wanting to do it for THEIR own convenience. I don’t get the repeated references people have made about their loved ones’ resistance to wearing the “lifeline” type pendants, unless it’s a cost thing, but unless you are living on top of her, you can’t make her do it, and if you were living on top of her, she wouldn’t need one anyway.

    I say as long as she is able to get up and do for herself, leave her be. Granny-proof her house, as mentioned a couple of times above, and resign yourself to the fact that Granny’s last days, weeks, months or years (or however long you are lucky enough to have her) will be played out her way, which is all any of us really want, isn’t it? Do whatever you can within the boundaries of her wishes, but above all, respect her wishes until they become absolutely unrealistic (bed-bound and requiring around-the-clock care, etc., and insisting on the same “leave me alone” independence, or becoming forgetful and leaving the stove on repeatedly would come under that umbrella). Why should your peace of mind come at the expense of changing someone else’s entire lifestyle?

    That said, I think one of the most self-serving and absolutely stupid things I have ever heard people say is, “I don’t ever want to live in a nursing home.” Who of us ever said, “When I get old, I’m going to fulfill my lifelong dream of going into a nursing home”? I mean, really? That’s like saying, “I don’t ever want to die in a car accident.” Well, duh! And exacting a promise from your spouse or children to ensure that you never do is one of the most selfish things you can ever do, because if a situation ultimately warrants your going into one, in addition to the worry and fear and, in the spouse’s case, loneliness, having to break such a promise puts an enormous amount of guilt on the loved ones. If you really love your spouse and/or kids, don’t ask them to make that promise.

  20. avatar Phyllis Barlow says:

    To an extent I agree with Margo to allow the grandmother to live as she sees fit, but there is something to be considered here. What if this lady falls and is so badly injured that she needs hospital care? She might end up in a facility or nursing home whether she wants to or not.

    My suggestion is that the family sit her down and have what we in the South call a “Come to Jesus” meeting. (This has nothing to do with religion LOL!!) They should explain that they understand and respect her wish to be independent, but that she needs a better plan for taking care of herself. There were a lot of good suggestions made yesterday on how this could be accomplished. Let her know in no uncertain terms that if she refuses to consider new ideas on how to function in her home, then they will have to make these decisions for her and she might not like what they come up with.

    If they feel like they can’t get through to her on their own, perhaps there are some Senior Services in their area who can help with this.

  21. avatar wvdonna says:

    My mother always used to say, “No one’s going to put me in a nursing home.”

    Her mother-in-law had a series of seizures and her mobility was limited during the last decade or so of her life. Since we were right across the road, it fell to my mother to do a lot of her care. Grandma was adamant she not go in a nursing home. My dad hired a lady to stay with her, but that only lasted about a week. Grandma didn’t like that lady “staring at me all day.”

    After she passed away, the subject of nursing homes came up. My mother said, “You girls do what you need to. I don’t want to be a burden.”

  22. avatar OrlGal says:

    Did you know that in the US, the number #1 cause of death after the age of 60 is falls, and consequences of them (disability leading to inflammation leading to death, and/or iatrogenic illness)?

    This could be avoided if Americans ate adequate protein to keep muscles and bone strong. Most of us don’t eat enough protein to even trigger protein synthesis (the process that turns the protein into new muscle, bone and skin). The result is weaker muscles, old looking skin and faster aging.

    You need 1.5 grams of protein per .7 pounds of body weight in each meal and it needs to be high quality (not soy) protein with Leucine (as that amino acid is the trigger for synthesis).

    If you keep the amount of starchy carb consumption balanced to same, or less, in grams, you’ll have the added bonus of creating a muscle metabolism that burns fat 24/7, even when sleeping. You’ll be in great shape, no food cravings and will have stronger bones and muscles (remember, your heart is a muscle too). You’ll also lose weight and potentially even correct any Type II or Pre-diabetic conditions.

    Yes, it’s hard to eat that amount of protein in every meal (especially restaurant meals), so get some high quality protein shakes to fill in the gaps or use in place of a carb laden breakfast.

    This knowledge is the result of thirty years of research by the top metabolism and protein researcher in the country… Google Dr Donald k Layman and the word protein for the peer reviewed research.

  23. avatar sewpro says:

    In California, if she falls and ends up in the hospital, her family could be charged with neglect. Then the state takes over her resources and makes all decisions for her. So, letting her have her way can be disastrous.