In an age when medical advances have made it possible to live longer and have better treatment than ever before, there can still be one thing to cope with – mental deterioration. There is no point in living to a hundred if you have no idea what day it is or who has just been to visit you. If you actually remember that someone has been to visit you. All too often, people I know have said that they feel awful for saying it but they wish their [relative] didn’t have to suffer like this any more. It is not, in most cases, the relative who is suffering at all; rather, it is the people who see them going downhill and cannot do anything about it.
Dad is still going strong, He turns 94 today and still knows exactly what is going on. His movement is more laboured and he repeats himself more times than a parrot with verbal diarrhoea, but he can hold a complicated conversation and knows exactly what he wants. And we are all grateful. We can forgive the fixations with things that we feel are insignificant. We can allow him his overindulgences at family get-togethers, on the back of “Don’t give me too much!” followed by a request for another helping. He is the most wonderful person and I think we can forgive him anything – probably.
If I manage to ward off the ravages of time and live to be a nonogenarian, I hope I have half the marbles that Dad has – and I know how to use them!