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When Kids Become the Parents and Parents Become Kids

Alex Wong-Getty Images

Are you taking care of an elderly parent? How much of a physical and emotional drain is it for you?

Of course you don’t want to admit it, but you know it takes its toll.

I hear this all the time when I’m in the gym…and this is the case with quite a few people.

“I have to go check out my mother in the home…”or, “my dad is living with us now, and he’s just not the same since my mother’s gone, and he still wants to drive.”
Or, “my mom’s with us, and she still treats us like we’re the kids…and I get no help.”

Check out the link here, and tell me if it applies to you.

My own situation isn’t too far removed from the above.

My mother in law is 84, in so-so health, and up until a year and change ago was fairly independent.

She still worked, albeit one day a week, and was able to do all her own shopping and doctor visits.

That is, until one icy day when she smacked up her car while heading to the beauty parlor.

(She tried to pass a car in front of her because she said, “he was going too slow!” Like there was such a rush to get to the beauty parlor, and listen to all the other “chiachiaones”.)

At that point, we all decided, “no more car”; and it was then that the changes became apparent.

No longer the independent, strong willed “hub of the wheel” she once was; it was as though she aged 10 or 15 years in the blink of an eye.

It probably had been coming on for some time, but without noticing it, one could never have “the talk” that Terry Wilson, who the Caregiver Specialist for the State Department of Health and Senior Services, suggests.

She says the key is to prepare as much as you can ahead of time.

But I don’t think that’s a conversation easily brought up.

She says, “When your elderly loved one is in good health and able to communicate, it’s best to find out what their plans and wishes are for the future.”

I can tell you firsthand…their plans are never to become a burden to their kids.

It’s like the saying my grandmother used to say in Italian all the time:

"...ten kids could never take care of one mother!"

“A mother can raise ten kids, but ten kids together could never take care of one mother.”

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