Friday, June 26, 2015

Falling Friday - The Other Part of Mid Life

I've been invited to participate in a meme called "What She Said" created by Kimberly Montgomery at Fifty Jewels. I'm told not to be politically correct, to tell it like it is, and so forth.

She says "This is not your grandmother's midlife."  Well, that's true.  One of my grandmothers never made it to age 50.

So, Kimberly, thank you for the invite, and I am going to tell you about my life right now.  Yes, I have an empty nest.  Yes, life is good.  But, in this season, much of my life is not my own.

You asked me for a quote.  So here goes.

"I am a long distance caregiver to a mother in law in her upper 80's.  If there is a "Mid Life Boulevard", caregivers live on the side streets, mainly forgotten by all those liberated from their nests, and enjoying substances and acts I can not mention in a family type blog (although those acts create families).  Yet, we are essential.  Like our grandmothers, we care for those of the generation above ours.  And, when it is our turn, we hope our children (or friends, if we are childless) take care of us."

Sometimes it can be a real drag.

It's 9:30 pm, and the load of laundry I started earlier is still drying. I worked at a full time job today (my spouse worked, too),  exercised, participated in some phone calls with in -law family members (and a visit from another inlaw) and packed so I could travel with my spouse to my mother in law, some three hours away.  She had a procedure today and the person who cared for her has to leave tomorrow afternoon.  We're down there to help out, and, at the same time, to help my mother in law downsize and eventually move to be near us.

There is so much to do, so many moving pieces, I have a spreadsheet (started by a co worker, thank you!) devoted to keeping it all together.  

Tomorrow, my spouse and I both work, and then, we are on the road.  While we are, I hope the swelling in my spouse's knee (injured during other helping out) stays down.

Now (bear with me) I am going to change the subject slightly.

In the past three weeks, three people in my life fell.

One fall came from a by product of radiation treatment.  My good friend of 52 years, in her third year of battling cancer. 
One was a friend, also in her 60s.  In a rush, she tripped over an obstacle in a parking lot. She is a caregiver for her sick sister.

But the third fall happened to my mother in law.  It is fortunate my spouse and I were in the house when she became disoriented in a dark living room and fell.

I've been taking a fall prevention class the past six weeks.  I've learned about falling, how to help after a fall, factors that influence falls, and so much more.  So I'm an expert, right?


Some help I was at first.  For the first few seconds after hearing her calls for help, I went totally blank, before some of my teachings started coming back to me.  But I did recover enough to remember some of what I needed to know.

And you know what?  It didn't work the way I thought it would. 

Not because the teaching was flawed.  It wasn't. But the person who fell, due to physical limitations, couldn't do what the teachings asked for.

That's OK.  I am in the process of learning more in case this ever happens again.  Besides what I've learned, there is an online resource called Caregiver College I am finding of help.

I was so grateful to the two lovely ladies who run my falls prevention class, and the two physical therapists who have attended several sessions.

Also, there is a free download online of a brochure from Australia. (see page 24-26 if you download it.)  I don't know if this brochure is related to the falling program I am taking, but I do know this falling program originated in Australia.

Again, I am not a health care professional but a layperson trying to prevent myself from falling again, and learning what I can since I am a caregiver for an elderly person.

So that is my current journey through midlife.  You're welcome.  I hope I'm coherent, because it's been a long day, and tomorrow I won't have time to write this post.

If you came here to find out how much fun it is to be a liberated 62 year old, you are in the wrong place.  But if you came here for a slice of my life with its joys and flaws- welcome.


  1. So, I am always talking about how yoga has helped my balance and then yoga was canceled for two weeks because the instructor had a freak accident on her deck and fell and broke her ankle. Oh, well. Falls are very scary.

  2. Bless you for stepping up and doing the hard job of caregiving. I know some of what you speak and can appreciate your exhaustion. Blessings to you and yours.

  3. Alana,
    God bless you as you serve your mother-in-law. It's not easy, I know. We've recently helped my sister's mother-in-law downsize and move to assisted living, and we live in the same town with her so we take her to church with us, take her out to eat occasionally, stop to check up on her, etc. It does take time but it's so important that the older people in our lives get cared for by people who love them. Also, about the falling: my mother, who is going to be 80 in August, says that that has been a tricky part about getting older: how easy it is to fall. In any case, as my aunt always says "Getting old is no picnic!"

  4. It's interesting how these things come out. Sure, you're taking fall prevention classes, but putting that knowledge into practice can be a challenge. You'll do better with it the next time (although, hoping there isn't a next time).

  5. My good sakes alive...that is enough falling to do you a lifetime I would say. We call it tipping over in my family because it sound, well, a little less like an accident and more like a clown act. But the results are the same. It is very frightening and always a growing concern.

  6. It's a rough job and I am amazed at all that you do! You are one very busy woman!!!

  7. You lead such a busy life, Alana, and I thank you for this touching post. We're all flawed, and nobody's life is perfect. Try as I might, I keep failing my own expectations. Nothing points out our shortfalls more than when we attempt to help someone else. My husband fell the other day--tripped over a chair leg. I rushed to help. Just luckily he is strong enough to raise himself although I supported his arm. He cut fingers and thumb on a sharp door fixture on the way down and it bled profusely. I limped from room to room, trying to find something to stop the flow. No band-aids. Forward and back I went like a headless chicken. He's fine, but I'm wearing out. You, on the other hand, are taking proper precautions in learning how to deal with a fall.

  8. Hi Alana- sorry that I haven't visited your blog in a while!
    You're clearly a very kind person to help your Mother-in-Law this way.

  9. I've been someone's caregiver since I was 12, and mother and I role reversed. She's 92, and I'm still her caregiver. If we don't find ways to care for ourselves, then we're falling down, in more ways than one.

  10. What a terrific post, thank you for the honesty. I do hope that you're taking a few minutes to care for yourself in the midst of caring for everyone else. I'm so glad to have met you and have you join in on #MidLifeLuv!


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