(CONTINUED FROM PAGE 65)
door, and Paige moved to a new place
within a couple of miles of her sisters.
Living closer together, the three could
more easily look after their mother.
But there was still a problem. All her
daughters were nearby, but everyone
still worked—no one could keep Doris
company during the day. Filled with
misgivings, the sisters signed her up
for adult day care.
Astonishingly, Doris loved it. “She’s
more responsive,” Paige now says in
wonderment. “She’s getting around
better. She’s telling me what she wants
me to buy for her.” A powerful motiva-tor, it seems, is a certain 92-year-old
woman at the facility who seems
never to stop moving, albeit with a
walker. Doris entered the program
in a wheelchair. But soon, whether
because of admiration or competition,
she swapped the chair for a walker
of her own.
Paige knows how lucky the family
is for this unexpected new outcome.
But she also feels humbled. This, too,
might not work out. Finding long-term care for someone else is, at best,
a shifting endeavor, she now sees,
and the decision-making process,
so full of anxieties, is bound to be a
continuum. All Paige can do is keep
her mother physically cared for while
fighting to ensure she feels emotionally whole.
“We’re still feeling our way,” Paige
says. “At some point my mother is
going to be less mobile than she is
now, and we have to prepare for that.
My sisters and I are not stay-at-home
mothers. Our lifestyle is different
than our mother’s was. So I’m trying
to look at the alternatives. Because it
may be 2 years from now, or 10. But
there will be another change.” ;
Claudia Kolker is the author of The
Immigrant Advantage: What We Can
Learn From Newcomers to America
About Health, Happiness, and Hope.
She lives in Houston with her family.