The alternative to care-giving
My husband just got a call from his 90 yr old uncle at 9:30 tonight. Seems that the other remaining brother (there had been 4 including Jim's father) passed away recently at about age 82 (I'm not exactly sure of the age). George's wife Helen had had AD, and George had cared for her for years, before she died 2 or 3 years ago. Their two children lived elsewhere, many states away, and George was alone. He kept in touch with his brother (we aren't close to his kids---they live far away, and we are 500 miles away, too) and his children called with great regularity.
Anyway, George did not take care of himself, and died in bed about a week ago, The mailman reported it, and someone found him and called the family. The house was a mess, and had been for years. (This is a home in a very expensive part of Palm Springs, BTW). I don't know what he died of.
I am not faulting George's kids or any of his family, including us. George, like many in his position, was accustomed to taking care of himself and didn't have the feedback to know otherwise. His kids took him at face value, as in "I just talked to Dad and he is fine."
So please, pay attention to the people in your life who are like George. Even if you are not taking care of someone, pay attention to the elderly in your neighborhood. Keep in touch. Give some feedback. Encourage them to get a Life-Alert alarm, or remind them to keep a doctor's appointment.
Who knows if it might have made a difference with George, but please don't forget that even the proudest ones, the ones who will not ask for help, and will tell everyone that they are fine, sometimes will need help.
And bless all of you who are caretakers.