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It doesn't happen overnight. You really do not notice it coming, until one you find one day that your parent has been forgetting little things, and cannot quite keep up the house as they had been doing. The time has come for role-reversal, a painful and awkward transitioning that is inevitible. How does an adult child begin to help their aging parent to cope with growning older. We have all heard the terms, becoming a parent to your parent, taking charge when it is necessary. . . However, there are a lot of problems in this process. You will need to be a real diplomat to be a help to a parent, and still leave them their dignity. Dignity is a major goal, as older people deal with agonizing changes when they notice they are not as able as they used to be. As a person ages, changes occur at different levels for different people. If the parent has been a healthy, independent individual, you may be able to very slowly begin to offer your help, even talk to the parent about what is taking place. Let them help you set the limits both of you need. Wait and watch before you charge in and take over everything. If the parent is ill, disabled or in some other way more dependent, you may have to do more to insure their health and safety. People face aging in many ways. Some fear getting older and become very busy denying the facts. We have a booming American industry for plastic surgery, fixing this and dyeing that, which can be taken to a ridiculous limit. Try to reassure your parent that you love them as they are, that they are still vital and interesting. If possible, discuss the changes they are contemplating. Don't be overbearing, 'forbidding' them to do this or that. Remember back to your teen years and how rebellious you could be. Now it is your parent that feels this way. Adding years means relinquishing much. You find yourself tiring more easily, forgetting things now and then, and the dread of death. Suddenly a parent realizes they really are going die, and a panic settles in. Try to discuss all the issues very matter-of-factly; help, don't push. If your parent has to come live with you at some point, try to make it as joyous as you can. Make them feel they are loved and wanted. Give them their space and help them fill it with things they treasure. Respect that parent's privacy. Do you appreciate your child barging into your bedroom? Neither does an aging parent. Depression can be a major stumbling block at first. No one likes to leave everything they know behind. Be alert for signs of major depression, and if it seems to get to be a problem, take them to a doctor. There are many agencies for the aging who can advise and help you. There are day care facilities for getting a break, or if you have to work and can't be home during the day. Most of these are staffed by volunteers who reach out to individuals. The staff have many crafts and activities to offer seniors. Remember, if there is friction or tension in the home, that parent is going to blame themselves. Don't let them carry a huge burden that tells them they are the cause of the problem. A well-staffed nursing home is a better solution than living in a madhouse of yelling and arguments that never end. Your parents took care of you, they deserve to be taken care of when they fade. Having grandma or grandpa living with your family can mean a rich tapestry of generations and memories. Love can soothe over a lot of rough spots, and when your parent is gone, you will feel contented that you helped their last years be good ones.


I am a 60 year-old freelance writer, desk-top publish a poetry magazine called "Poet Speak Digest". My work has appeared in endless venues, and I have written poetry, short stories, Sci Fi, as well as articles on many different subjects. I am disabled, an aging survivor of Domestic Violence and live in downtown Portland Oregon with my two rescue-ferrets, Amber and Rascal. My key to aging is to watch my health, and keep busy all the time. You must remember to be a 'living' person, rather than an 'existing' person.



------
Writing is neither work nor hobby, but a
compulsive obsession.


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Comments

The following comments are for "Trading Places"
by Ladypoet

parent
As soon as I read the first line of your work, I knew that I had to read more. I have been in the position of having to care for a frail, ill and confused parent. It is "not" an easy task. You obviously know all that is entailed in giving loving and supportive care to an aged parent. As you can attest to, it is an emotionally draining experience, at least it was for me, because my father was so ill. I could definitely relate to your article. I've been there. I really admire your writing style; it is both easy and gracious with smooth movement from one thought process to another. My article also deals with an ageing parent "Where The Road Ends", so I feel a kinship with your thoughts. You did a great job. Would like to read more of your work.

( Posted by: mollie777 [Member] On: February 11, 2006 )

Thank You
It was very sweet of you to write such a wonderful comment. It is my goal to offer information in a simple, every day way that
folks can relate to.
I shall go look up your article!
Thank you, dear one.

Ladypoet

( Posted by: Ladypoet [Member] On: February 11, 2006 )





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