The Big Issue : Edition 440
‘‘ I am 79 years old. I lost my wife five years ago and while I value my independence, my health has deteriorated to the point where my doctor wants me to move to a nursing home. Frankly it frightens me but I don’t feel that I have a choice. Am I just a cranky old man? ’’ – Name withheld, 79, Bundaberg Ask the Agony Aunts Getting old can be challenging, especially when we have to face some difficult choices. This is what our writer has presented and our Agony Aunts respond to the existential question of growing old. Keep your questions coming and our Agony Aunts will do their best to answer them. ADVERTISEMENT The views and opinions of Milly Parker and Father Bob expressed in this article are not intended to represent professional advice. Says Father Bob: I know lots of cranky old men including yours truly. But we are survivors, not just of life on the street but of our own inner demons and uncertainties. You have to think of your situation as a journey, but one in which the ticket was purchased for you. You have the choice, of course, but sometimes it helps to hear other points of view. I’m assuming your doctor knows you well and you trust him. If that’s the case, put your faith in his professional opinion or cast your net more widely. If you have family members or mates whose opinion you value, ask them what they think. Be guided but not led. That’s our right as cranky old men. If you have a question for our Agony Aunts, please email it to agonyaunts @yooralla.com.au If your letter is longer than the Great Wall of China we reserve the right to edit it. Milly Parker is the Yooralla Disability Ambassador. At 21 she acquired a brain injury (ABI) as a result of a car accident. It changed her life ... for the better! Sick of being told she was broken and useless, Milly gave the world a two-finger salute and is now a successful businesswoman, public speaker on disability issues and mentor. Her business ‘Happy Yappers’ has won numerous awards and is her pride and joy. For all the goss go to www.happyyappers.com.au Father Bob Maguire is the irrepressible ‘mad priest’ (self-described). When it comes to the Catholic Church, this selfless man of God is a perpetual pain in the you know where. Although the church hierarchy was done with him, Father Bob wasn’t done with the church. In 2003 he estab-lished the Father Bob Maguire Foundation which continues to feed, support, nurture and uplift those who need a helping hand Money is always in short supply so please consider supporting Father Bob’s mission. You can read it all at www.fatherbob.org.au Says Milly: This is an all too familiar situation and I hear your despair. If you want to stay in your home, then you should be supported to do that. Research has proven that when people are supported to stay in their own homes as they age, they are happier because they are connected to their community. It’s also more cost effective for government than sending people to nursing homes. Ask your doctor what he can do to help you achieve this. Contact your local Council for things like meals on wheels and a house cleaner. They can also put you in touch with other agencies that offer a range of supports. There ARE options to exhaust before making the life-altering decision to go into a nursing home. I wish you the best of luck!