Caring for an Aging Parent

13 Jul

If you find yourself caring for an aging parent, please try to find support in a group of people who have similar problems and who need help as much as you do. You will find strength in each other. You may learn from others in the group about what to expect next. And listening to their stories will make you feel humble, and grateful, sometimes.

It is such a comfort to be with others who are struggling with this same issue. Besides, it gets you out of the house!

Without my support group, it would be a pretty “white knuckle” ride that I am on. Lucky for me, I found a wonderful group after a couple of searches that were not successful. Keep trying if you do not immediately find a group with whom you feel very comfortable. I live in a big city, so there were many choices. But, even if you are living somewhere where there are not so many options, keep looking.  Churches often have such groups.

 Last Thursday, my meeting was a calm gathering. No one was in GREAT distress, but each of us is moving, inexorably, to the finish line. 

 Some of these people have been in the group for years. Many years. That is important to realize. Your journey may be longer than you think. So, be prepared to stay in the group. Work on having a life of your own so that you can keep your own identity. When you do find yourself alone again, you will have something else to fall back on.

 We, all, have come to terms with the mortality of our loved ones, but it is this slow dance to the end that may be wearing us out.

 Last time, we in my group talked about the fact that when you raise a child, you sort of have a time line.  You know, more or less, where you will be at the end of the first five years and then the next, and the next. And, theoretically, things will be getting better as the child grows up.   You know that your time will be less taken up with childcare, and you can do more; you may go back to work, or create something, or even travel more. 

 But for those who are caring for an aging parent, there is NO timeline. We have no idea at what stage we are even in. This uncertainty is part of the problem. Being uncertain causes anxiety. And anxiety causes stresses in our lives– with partners, jobs, children and within ourselves. And it is NOT going to get better, in this lifetime. And that is a hard thing to allow into our brains. We don’t want to lose our parent, but it is inevitable. Sadly, only death will end the uncertainty.

So, enjoy every moment that you can. It is a blessing to have aging parents because many people do not have that option. Be thankful and appreciate the gift of being with someone at the end of their life. This is a blessing, though sometimes it is hard to understand this.

The Lifeline provided by a mentored support group cannot be emphasized highly enough for its value.  If you, too, are caring for an aging parent, I highly recommend that you find a support group– soon.

           

Copyright©.  2018 Bonnie B. Matheson

2 Responses to “Caring for an Aging Parent”

  1. R.E.F. 13. Jul, 2018 at 11:47 am #

    Bless you, Bonnie. Hugs for both you and Ruth. Robin

  2. Susie Aguirre 14. Jul, 2018 at 7:04 am #

    Another wonderful piece of writing, Bonnie!

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