I remember sitting at a stoplight on the way to her doctor’s appointment, looking over at my mom, wondering, “When did she become old? How had we gotten to this point?” It’s not like I didn’t know she was getting older, but it felt so sudden.
There had been some signs of age, slower recoveries on some things, not running around as fast, being bothered more by chilly weather and such. Then there was a fall, and then two, and some sudden advanced health issues. It hit me all at once right at that stoplight. My mom was old, and she needed me in ways I had not fully prepared for.
Realizing my mom was aging left me feeling a bit distraught. I was torn between the mom who had easily kept up with me in my early 20s to the mom who needed some hands-on care in my early 30s. I have come to realize that while this new stage of her life felt sudden and hard to me, it has been even quicker and harder for her. It has left us both trying to figure out a new balance. Some days, I feel like our roles have reversed, especially since I am in Mom Mode with my own young family.
Once I was finally able to overcome the melancholy feeling of my mom aging, I had a ton of questions. Being the planner that I am, I needed a game plan.
I am an only child and my mom became a single mom when I was 12. This translates to not really having a family member (other than my most amazing husband) to assist me with my mom’s care and needs as she continues to age. I turned to trusty (or not so trusty) Google, to help me fully understand what I may experience, what care may be needed, and what resources are available to me. I found a million and one (or two) websites all offering different information, different scenarios, and different resources. I may or may not have been a bit overwhelmed ;). Some great friends of mine have also been great resources to help me navigate this stage of life with my mom.
Things I have learned about adjusting to life with an aging parent.
- Try to keep some humor in the whole process, laughter at any age is good for you!
- Do not be afraid to ask for help, or in some cases even demand it. Doctors, social workers, therapists, Area Council for Aging are great places to start if you need help with aging parents.
- Allow yourself to grieve your parents getting older.
- Caregiver burn out is a real thing, take time out for you to take care of you.
- Know that no matter what, you are not alone in this process.
Seeing and realizing our parents are aging can be hard. However, there are some up sides like electric scooter races! Please share with us your any experience or advice you have on aging parents.