Tag Archive | aging process

Moving Up The Family Tree

movingupthefamilytree

As we age, I imagine we move up in the family tree.  As babies, we begin at the root of the family tree with our parents and other family members protecting us as we grow.  As we get older, we begin to branch off as our own limbs on the family tree and when/if we should marry and have children of our own, we develop our own branches off of our family trunk of love.

As the family tree increases, peopled with loving connections, it grows.  New branches and connections are formed to increase the tree’s size.  At mid-life though, something happens.  We begin to be in the middle or higher branches of the tree.  No longer are we one of the younger whipper-snappers, but we are now parents, aunts, uncles, and maybe even grandparents and we rise in the tree.  No longer are we establishing our branches.  We are expanding them with offshoots by our own family increasing in size.

When my father died, I was too grief-stricken to feel the shift that happened.  But I feel it now.  We’ve recently had a cousin of my Dad’s generation pass away.  No longer am I a child, but an adult, and I feel it’s my duty to represent our family limb in the passing of a beloved family member from another of the tree’s offshoots.

I guess it’s the way life progresses, but it was an eye-opening moment for me when I realized that I’m nearing the upper echelon of the tree.  I’m grateful that I’m a part of such a lovely family tree and I’m honored to be a part of the rising branches within our family tree.

Are you feeling that change in the generations too?  I guess as we age or under certain circumstances, we become the older generation, ready to nurture the younger ones as time goes by.  It’s all a part of the cycle of life.

Shine On!

xo

 

When You Find Yourself Parenting Your Parents

whenyoufindyourselfparentingyourparents

I have a few friends who are now entering a new phase of adulthood which is when you are now charged with parenting your own parents or elderly family members.  It happens to many of us as we reach middle age.  My friends are just at the beginnings of that journey and I am glad to be here to help them and to help anyone else who needs it.  Because, I know how hard it is to watch the changes that occur as our parents get older.  Sometimes it starts sneakily and at others, it feels as if the drastic changes happen overnight.  But not matter how it happens, it’s hard for all involved.

The reversal of roles from child to parenting our parents can be a rocky road to navigate.  Some parents have a tough time relinquishing control to their children and fight the aging process with acute belligerence.  I can imagine how hard it is to realize even a little bit that we aren’t as ‘with it’ as we once were, that we get confused at times and that our children are telling us what to do when that was our job.  It’s a slippery slope to navigate as a child who now needs to parent our own parents.  We must be patient as the changes occur and be kind, even when our best intended and even wise suggestions are met with disapproval.

It’s hard to realize that our parents aren’t as healthy, mentally and physically as they once were and that we cannot rely upon them as children anymore.  It’s a tough realization, but very necessary.  There’s a mourning that comes with that realization for ourselves and our parents if they can realize it.  Bumps in the road are certain as this next phase begins.

Perhaps you’re realizing that your parents are weakening mentally and physically.  They aren’t as spry as they used to be and need help walking or doing their normal routines.  Perhaps you’re noticing that they are getting a bit confused at times or forgetting what they once readily knew.  Or perhaps they are slurring their words a bit or not able to remember to pay the bills on time or to take out the garbage or to eat routinely.

Please, come from a place of love and kindness as you navigate this new phase.  Be helpful and try to keep your frustrations outwardly to a minimum.  Hold your parents closer than you may have in the past and give them love.  Let them know you are there to be helpful and not to take over entirely (unless it’s now truly needed).  Find ways in which to help them as these beginning stages unfold.  Keep a keen eye on things as it progresses and be aware that subtle changes can grow quickly into full on tragedy if not monitored.

I am not trying to scare you, but I need to warn you.  I have seen it happen.  Trauma can exacerbate the the changes more quickly and speed up the need to get more help for your parents.

You may even see personality changes occur as they decline mentally and physically.  Agitation is common as their frustration levels increase (and yours do too).  It’s normal, so please take care of yourself and them with kindness and patience in your heart, mind and actions.

I’m here if you need a friend.  I’ve been on this path for quite a long time with several family members.  It’s not easy, but when you understand that you are not alone on this journey, it helps to ease the pain.  Being supported by someone who’s been there helps and I would like to give back in honor of those who helped me through the journey, so I’m here for you.

Shine On!

xo