Dealing With Elderly Parents (Part 2)

April 12, 2010

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Several weeks ago, I published an article about dealing with aging parents. In that article, I discussed treating parents with respect and understanding. In that article, I discussed the limitations that my parents are living with and there plans to move into a smaller home. Thankfully, they have found a location closer to my bother and sister (about 2 miles and 3 blocks respectively).

Now comes the paragraph of frustrations. I am not in a position to help my parents as they prepare to move. I live in another state, just under 1100 miles away. My bother, sister, brother in law, niece and nephew are performing all of the support effort. This lack of participation is frustrating to me, it highlights my feeling a not supporting my parents as they age.

I have made a habit of calling my parents every Sunday night, when I am sure that they have stopped working for the day. It was during these calls that I learned that there are many more problems with aging than I or my parents have had to negotiate. My uncle has recently been hospitalized to have bypass surgery. Next, my aunt had hip replacement surgery. Then the kicker, as I said my parents are planning on moving, and now my father is having knee replacement surgery.

So, what am I doing to deal with this frustration? First, I am offering any help they want from a distance. What they appear to want (remember I have recommended listening and doing what they want) is to stay with me while their new house is being built. This is fine, but does actually put more pressure on my brother. You see, while they are with me, he will be responsible for making sure the house turns out the way they want it. So I am smiling, I get the easier task.

My house is not built for elderly people. There are stairs everywhere. There is a step into the family room, there are steps ate every door out of the house. The laundry is in the basement, the bathtub and shower are on the second floor. There will be some inconveniences. We will convert the dining room into a bed room, to avoid most of those stairs. My mother will have to wait until someone is home to help her get up and down the stairs for her shower, this will fall on my wife or daughter so they can help her get into and out of the shower itself.

With what I have experienced so far, I have learned a lot about what I have to do to prepare for my own old age. My wife and I are already looking at elderly friendly housing as our next home (after all of the kids have moved out). We originally thought we were shopping to care for our parents, but we are actually shopping for ourselves. I have also learned that it is possible to live by the advise I gave in the original article. I am listening to what my parents want. I am tempering my disappointment when they do not take my advice. I am not using my children to get them to do things I want them to do.

Enjoy life and enjoy your time with your loved ones.

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