Taking care of our parents can be a bittersweet experience. They used to be so active and full of life yet now they may find it hard to walk across a room. How are we to deal with the people we love being in their nineties and having a difficult time doing every day chores?
My mother is 97 and is actually doing well. Her mind is sharp and she plays cards, etc. yet has a difficult time walking and doing daily errands. I go over every day to help out and see how she is doing. She actually has a very bad heart and wasn't supposed to live this long. Thank God she is still here and has a quality life. Here are some suggestions I have if you might be in this situation now or in the future.
Take care of yourself. You can't help your parents if you are overwhelmed and tired. Be sure to get the support you need and set time aside for activities you enjoy. Take care of your body. Eat healthy and get exercise. Instead of focusing on the struggles and sadness of seeing your parents get older, think of how blessed you are to be with them and savor each moment. However, that doesn't mean to avoid your feelings over what is going to eventually happen. You may feel sadness, fear, and even anger. That is natural, but don't let it overwhelm you and if you need someone to talk to about your feelings find someone caring who you can trust with your innermost feelings.
Give your parents as much control over their life as much as much as possible. They deserve our respect and for us to realize even thought they might not be as physically strong as they were they are still the parents who taught us to walk, changed our diapers and supported us during our life.
Encourage them to use their mind and to socialize with their friends. Help them to exercise as much as they are able. You can make it fun by doing an activity they like. If you drive you can go on outings and family occasions.
This is a topic we hate to talk about but at some point we have to ask about their will, and what arrangements they want when they die. This isnít easy but so important. Do they want life support if they become seriously ill? Where do want their body to be when they die? Again, these are hard questions but need to be discussed.
The final suggestion is to have fun! Do things they like enjoy. I try and make each day one she can enjoy. I donít know if she will be here tomorrow. I always end each day by giving her a hug and telling her I love her. She does the same. Never miss the opportunity to do this.
Hope these suggestions are hopeful and maybe we can make this a loving way to eventually having to say good by to them someday to someone who loves them even more than we do- God.
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