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Caring for Your Parents

Chapter 15: Joyce, Bert and Mac [2:28]

"A fragile ecosystem."

Bert and Mac are still at home as Christmas approaches. If Bert fell suddenly ill, would Mac know what to do?

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Transcript 

Chapter 15: Joyce, Bert & Mac "A fragile ecosystem."

NARRATOR:  

BACK AT THE MCARDLE'S, MAC AND BERT ARE SPENDING, WHAT THEIR DAUGHTERS FEAR, MAY BE THEIR LAST CHRISTMAS IN THE HOUSE. 

ALBERTA:  

I know my husband's very happy here. He always says when we have gone somewhere, "Oh, is it good to be home." And I feel the same way. It's just good to be home.  

KATHY  

As many times as we've tried to broach the subject with my mother, she didn't want to leave.  This is her home and this is where they want to stay. So we'll see what we can do, you know, to make that happen.

NARRATOR:

BUT REALITY IS SETTLING IN. BERT'S HEALTH IS SHAKY...AND MAC'S MIND IS DETERIORATING. 

JOYCE:  

Right now my dad's functioning fine, but in terms of being able to figure out that there's food in the refrigerator or the freezer to defrost and cook, that's out of his realm. 

If he went for a walk, I'm not sure he'd find his way home. All the skills that you need to remember how to do, things in sequence or things in steps, are gone. 

He knows all the grandchildren but he doesn't know how to drive anymore. 

NARRATOR:

THE HARD QUESTIONS ARE FRONT AND CENTER--WOULD MAC BE ABLE TO HELP BERT IN AN EMERGENCY... 

PAT:  

He's getting to the point where if she didn't get up he might check on her and then come downstairs and maybe go up and say, "Bert, you know, you gonna get up?" And then go downstairs, and then he'd walk around uh, the only problem is with that he'd wouldn't know, I don't think he'd know to call anybody. 

JOYCE:  

You know, who gets Dad if Mom gets sick? I guess that's my big concern-- that they both stay healthy. It's a very fragile ecosystem. Very fragile ecosystem.