Wednesday, January 2, 2013

the art of aging

This is our Big Daddy at 77. 
As the baby boomers age gracefully, we find ourselves with the important task of taking care of our folks as they endure their twilight years.  For those with larger families, the duties can be shared which can make for a much easier experience, but when only one person carries the load, it can be daunting.  There are numerous organizations that provide professional assistance and guidance if situations become unmanageable and we should accept that help when needed.  Sharing our concerns with others involved in their own family needs is very comforting for this is the world we live in and the right thing to do.  Avoiding nursing homes has always been my goal when caring for our loved ones and discussing progress with their doctors is a huge course of action to make sure they get the best care available.  It is known a child will always give the most loving and compassionate care because of the bond we have, however, most times we need an experienced medical advisor or caregiver to help us guide the way.  Give yourself permission to take breaks and share the load if it becomes too heavy.  Refresh and revitalize so patience is always in your heart.  I found this message to be extremely powerful and a gentle reminder of the circle of life.
"My dear child, the day you see I'm getting old, I ask you to please be patient, but most of all, try to understand what I'm going through.
If when we talk, I repeat the same thing a thousand times, don't interrupt to say: "You said the same thing a minute ago"...Just listen, please.  Try to remember the times when you were little and I would read the same story night after night until you would fall asleep.
When I don't want to take a bath, don't be mad and don't embarrass me.  Remember when I had to run after you making excuses and trying to get you to take a shower when you were just a little one?
When you see how ignorant I am when it comes to new technology, give me the time to learn and don't look at me that way...remember, honey, I patiently taught you how to do many things like eating appropriately, getting dressed, combing your hair and dealing with life's issues every day...the day you see I'm getting old, I ask you to please be patient, but most of all, try to understand what I'm going through.
If I occasionally lose track of what we're talking about, give me the time to remember, and if I can't don't be nervous, impatient or arrogant.  Just know in your heart that the most important thing for me is to be with you.
And when my old, tired legs don't let me move as quickly as before, give me your hand the same way that I offered mine to you when you first walked.
 Moments where I become confused and don't recognize you, please be calm and gentle and know I will feel your unconditional love.
When those days come, don't feel sad... just be with me, and understand me while I get to the end of my life with love.
I'll cherish and thank you for the gift of time and joy we shared.  With a big smile and the huge love I've always had for you.  I just want to say, I love darling child."