Books and TV Can Help You Keep Your Aging Parents Out of the Hospital


When I have visited my aging parents, as well as my in-laws, I usually stay at least several days because it is so far way.

For the past 10 years or so, I have noticed that they never listen to the radio in either home. Instead, they have the TV on almost all the time. Sometimes they watch it, but often it seems to be simply background.

Mom was used to easily finding her favorite TV programs and knew the schedule of them. However, the apartment building where my Mom lives changed their cable provider for some reason. It has been very disturbing for her.

Now all is changed. She can't see well enough to get used to the new schedule. The new cable company doesn't seem to carry her favorite program- Becker. So now she is even more disconnected.

My Mom and Dad were always reading something- library material,magazines, newspapers, senior magazines, anything. But now my Mom lives alone and her vision is very poor.

My sister got her a great audio book system. It plays cassettes or CD's and reads them out loud to her. Mom can get these at the local library. She has also got on a free mailing service that sends her several of her senior magazine and book requests at a time. So now she listens to her favorites- she especially likes 18-19th century high seas sailing dramas.

She can listen while she is knitting or preparing her meals or whatever. She uses it a lot. It seems that whenever I phone her, she needs to turn of the audio system.

I remember that famous episode of Twilight Zone about reading- "Time Enough at Last". Henry Beamis, an old man working as a bank clerk loved reading. He spent his lunch hours reading in the vault of the bank where it was quiet and he wasn't disturbed.

One day a nuclear war occurred. He came out of the vault and found he was the only survivor. He wandered the streets and came across a huge library. He was so pleased and seemed to forget all about his predicament. He leaned down to pick up a volume. In doing so, his very thick glasses fell off and broke. Now he couldn't see to read. He said, "That's... that's not fair. That's not fair at all!"

Being alone suddenly became sheer loneliness . This has been a meaningful story for me. But its haunting me that my aging Mom and in-laws are living their own versions of it.

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