Monday, April 14, 2014

Aging Parents




This weekend was an eye opener in my relationship with my aging parents. My parents are definately starting to show their age and it's hard to know how much help they need and how much to push when help is refused. Luckily, I have two siblings to go to for advise and to share the responsibility. But, I realized this weekend, I need to do more.



There are little things I can do that will not require very much effort on my part, but can make a big difference to my parents. My mother can no longer cook like she used to, due to memory issues. The burden of making meals falls too much on my father, so one thing I can do, is begin to stock their freezer with some home cooked meals and some baked goods. I prepared a few dinners for them, including one of our favorites (Chicken Spaghetti) that freezes well.

Another thing my sister and I can do is find a way to gracefully offer to sporadically clean their home. They have refused a cleaning service, but it's just not something they are able to keep up with. A simple thing to accomplish, but a big difference to them.

Finally, there is the gift of time. They live fairly close - only an hour's drive - and I can visit on a regular basis and offer what help I can. It's hard to find a balance when your parents are proud people, who won't ask for help, but if I am there, I can be in place when needed.

Most empty nesters, including many of my friends are dealing with these issues; some even more challenging. We all want our parents to be able to keep their homes, their pride and their dignity. The decisions are hard, but are made with love and the best intentions.

Happy Monday!



  1. What a blessing you are to them:) I remember those times and it is hard when they still want to be independent! You are doing great things by fixing those meals and visiting! I know they enjoy seeing your sweet face:) Enjoy your day dear friend, HUGS!

  2. Great perspective. My MIL is going to be 96 in August and still lives on her own in MI. She only just recently lost her license (but is in the process of trying to get it back...she passed her eye exam after surgery, passed the written test, just needs to pass the driving portion). She is full of life and spunk, but I know this past winter has been really hard on her due to the amount of snow. My parents are younger, in their 70s, and are starting to show their age due to poor health decisions. They do not live far from us. However, they don't spent much time with us either. It really is sad. My girls never understood it growing up. I know as their only daughter that I will be the one having to make decisions soon. My brothers seem to only think life revolves around them!

  3. My story is close to the end,although only my father has passed. They both hid their failings so well that even I who went to their home twice a week didn't know the extent. Three months after my fathers death ( he died 10 weeks after falling and hitting his head, they didn't seek medical attention and didn't call me or anyone) my mother went to a lawyer and promptly disowned my sisters and I and her grandchildren. This was done with help from her'' new friends'' she found at a grieving forum set up by the senior center in our area. We found out that she was going to lunch after the meetings and paying for everyone's meals, in the area of $100. a pop. Two weeks ago she signed yet another set of papers of POA and medical directives that her family can not have any information about her. To say we are shell shocked is putting it mildly. My mother was never one to get long with easily.We did find out that she suffered 2 strokes before signing these last papers. There is so much more but my words of warning are" beware the new friends". Oh, most of their fear centered around their pets being taken away if they were found unable to take care of themselves. Good Luck. jd

    1. Sadly, this is common and becoming more common. What we found out is that it costs more to hire a lawyer than it is worth. Doctor's don't often want to get involved. It's hard to watch, but there is little that those of us without a lawyer in the family can do. Frankly, it appears that even wealthy people are hard put to fix these issues. Let go and let God (or karma) handle it, is about all the advice I have to offer.

  4. Sadly this is something we all have to go through sooner or later. One of the main reasons we moved was to be closer to my parents who are in their mid70's. Glad you have siblings to help you with this. Hugs, it sure is a strange thing to be a parents caretaker!

  5. It's tough! My mom never asks for a thing. Thus, we need to just step in. She loves meals cooked for her..chicken spaghetti is her favorite. We're blessed to still have her with is...95 yrs old and pretty spry.

  6. What is chicken spaghetti, Vicki? It sounds like you are certainly doing the right thing for your parents. ...:)JP

  7. Oh this is a part of life most of us face after our children are gone some people have to do both I do not know how they do it. We finally had to put my Mom in a retirement home so she could get the special help she needed after her living alone for 6 years after my Dad's passing. I loved looking after both my parents and have no regrets for doing what needed to be done to keep them in their own home for so long. Hug B

  8. My siblings and I are trying to get my mom to move from her big house. She knows its the right thing to do, but its so hard for her to imagine and actually do. We're all going to her house for Mother's Day weekend and will clean out the basement which is full. Its a big job, but I hope the first step in helping her downsize. I might take a meal or two. My mom still cooks, but I know it gets tiresome. She lives alone, so I could package smaller servings. Thanks for the idea!

  9. Were dealing with some of the same!e issues with my mother. She is a recent amputee who does really well living on her own with support from us and a great support system in her apartment building. This is a godsend as I live three hours away.
    It is a difficult time for both generations

  10. Those are all great suggestions. My parents are in their late 70's although I have four sister all but one live on East and they are in the West. I feel bad that so much falls on her.

  11. It's a tough time for everybody..You seem to be doing what you can and I'm sure it's appreciated..Things will just evolve as time goes on..


  12. As my parents age I often find myself thinking about how I will deal with the stress of caring for them and finding them the proper care. Our health care systems can be very convoluted and it is hard for people to find the right plans and care for their parents or loved ones. I recently read a very helpful book called "Voice of Experience: Stories About Health Care and the Elderly" by a husband and wife who are well regarded in their respective medical fields.

    This book shares experiences and case studies of families and people going through situations that unfortunately arise as we and our loved ones age. I found it very comforting to see the stories of others faced with similar fears and decisions as the ones I have. More valuable was the advice offered. After reading this book I feel more prepared and confident in my ability to care for my parents when that time comes and I think anyone with similar circumstances should give this book a read.


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