Tuesday, 3 May 2016

For all those with ageing parents

 You have a Choice

You have a unique new role in life, one you didn't choose so much as you grew into.

It is when the tables are turned and your aging parent becomes dependent on you and you become the carer.

But this is not like the child parent role, no this is a whole lot different.

Now in our country we are really gearing up for the aging population as elsewhere in the world. You will inevitably become very familiar with the acronyms ACCT and OT’s, and a new and burgeoning …trician as in geriatrician, so new, spell check doesn't pick it up. So your aging parent will be well cared for, their physical and mental needs met through a well structured support system.

Be very careful that you do not try and fulfil all these roles as well as being the emotional support for your parent or you will need up exhausting your self, becoming extremely stressed and end up with ill health, as I did. You simply can’t take on the role of multiple people, be the emotional support for someone who is becoming increasingly dependent on you, care for your family and home and work. Is there any thing left for your self? Nope, and you end up depleting yourself and perhaps feeling resentful.

Instead you could choose a different outcome. For you are none of the above mentioned roles, no your role is a unique role and it will be the last one you have with your parent.

It is not the role of doing that is amply covered, rather it is the role of being the listener. The one who simply sits in companionship and silence for the age old art of stories being passed through the generations.

A time of sharing, of memories and bonding when the roles of parent and child morph into two human beings. And why is this a unique role? Because it is born of a lifetime of sharing, a blood bond that even if years and animosity have separated you, now here is the time for the continuity of life.

After your parent has passed away, will the stories you share with your children be about the stress of looking after your aging parent or will it be the joyful re telling of the stories of your children’s grandparents early life of lasting memories.


Ps When I wrote the title spell check changed ageing to raging, and as Bernie Siegel wrote in his book 'The Art of Healing', there are no mistakes when this happens, so a note on raging.
Your parent is losing control of their lives, they may suffer fear, anxiety and anger, and invariably it will be directed at you. An opportunity to practice mindfulness, they are their emotions not yours.

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