The two-story house was immaculate when I arrived for my twice a week, four hour shift. I was there as a care worker to assist the woman in her mid 70’s in taking care of her husband who was in his mid 80’s. My duties included helping him with showering, shaving and changing bed linens. He was frail and advancing through the stages of dementia. “So where are you from?”, he would ask me. I would tell him only to be asked the same question ten minutes later. He had to be constantly reminded to use his walker and had fallen several times recently.

His wife was sharp of mind but not in much better shape, physically. She had one hip replaced five years ago and the complications from it resulted in severe pain. Not only that, but her other hip had gone out and she was scheduled to have that hip replaced in two months. It was definitely a case of the handicapped taking care of the handicapped with no relatives close by who were able to assist on a regular basis.

Even in her condition, she made every effort to maintain this house in tip-top shape that they had purchased some ten years ago. She was frustrated because neither of them could go to the second floor of the house with their ailments. Now, she had to seriously consider putting her husband in an assisted living facility but she confided in me that her heart would not allow her to do it right now. Also, the house would have to be sold to accommodate this move financially and she would have to find a place to stay for herself.

She later told me that she wished they had never purchased the house. “Who knew we would be faced with this situation 10 years ago when we moved in? Now, I really have to downsize. I just don’t know how to even begin!”

The following week she contacted me to say that she has no choice but to begin somewhere now. Her husband had suffered a fall and broke his back. The doctors had also found spots on his liver and an aneurism near his heart. It can be good to have nice things but we can’t take them with us and life can be very unpredictable.