The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

July 6, 2011

Carol J. Long, columnist: Facing reality of aging parents

By Carol J. Long
Special to The Globe

JOPLIN, Mo. — My generation, known as the baby boomers, are now faced with the reality of our parents physically or mentally unable to care for themselves.

 Now the roles have changed, no matter how old we are, we will always be our parents child. It was difficult for me to accept that my own parents we aging. I stressed over trying to make the decisions for them.

Here is where good communication and relationships with family members come in, mine were not the best. Do our paretns prefer to stay in their own home or would a skilled nursing facility be needed? If we were in circumstances of having to give our home, what would want to do? If we can arrange to have a neighbor or nearby relative to come or call daily, perhaps that would work for a while.

Visits to our parents and grandparents can be a way to show our love and respect for the, and all they have done for us. We would want them to feel loved and wanted, not feeling as if they had been abandoned. The worst punishment is “useless loneliness.”

We may be the one who carries the full load of caretaker, with little or no help from other family members. At times we may feel guilty because we are not able to do more. In any event care giving can be rewarding, but not without stress. Above all our parents need to know that we love and need them. We should put our arms around them, take them with us when we can, include them in our lives. Most of all cherish that we still have them with us. Both of my parents are gone now, I miss them.

We can cope.