I just read a touching 2013 column about supporting elderly parents, written by Washington Post columnist, Cortland Milloy.
In his column Milloy addresses the notion, so prevalent these days, that many of us are “parenting our parents.” I’ll let you read the column for yourself, but I have some firm issues when it comes to the idea of parenting parents. Bottom line? I do not use the phrase.
I believe that my parents are elders, and no matter how frail they become, they possess more experience and wider perspective than I do at my younger age. I support, help, assist, and sometimes take charge to make the occasional decision — if absolutely necessary. I consider their welfare, just as they continue, even at their advances ages, to think about mine.
Aging in the later years of life is not fun. People lose their sense of independence, their cars, their friends, their ability to make decisions, and so much more. No matter what, despite either immense physical challenges or failings of memory, we should work hard to give them credit for, to recognize, and to celebrate the well-lived lives they have led.
As for my parents? They are fragile, but if anything, they continue to parent me.
Great post. Although easily done, parenting the elderly can definitely cause some resentment, especially when they value their independence. I think as long as they are able to live safely and happily alone then they should be able to – a great way to ensure they do this safely is a personal alarm so they don’t feel patronised but you can rest assured that they are living a safe and independent life!
Hi Anna. Personal alarm systems work for some people and not for others. The elder should always have the choice. One did not work for a member of my family. But I also know aging adults who really like them.