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Taking Care of Elderly Parents and Yourself

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If I can, I’d like to get a little personal with this one. This subject matter is one that strikes at the very core of my heart. You may be asking yourselves, what does she mean by this? Before I begin, I think it’s important for everyone to understand that writing in the second or third person is just not suitable for this topic. What I’m referring to is caring for my elderly mom. 

Elderly Community

As I sit here and try to grasp the words to describe how I feel when I look at my 72-year-old mother, it makes me reminisce about the days when she and I were shopping together or having an argument over which color looks best for a particular dress that I’d chosen. It’s a rather difficult topic to write about because, after all, she is the strongest woman that I know. Now, instead of me going to her for support, she’s needing mine. There are moments when I take time to just weep because I remember those days, but then I stop to think that the example she’s given to me as a strong woman has resonated in my mind and spirit to be that strong woman for her.

Caring for an elderly parent can be quite stressful. The number of questions you have in your mind can be overwhelming. You want to know when will my mother get back to being that active and spunky person she once was? The more frightening question is will she ever get back to that point? As you come to grips with all of the possible answers, you realize the sobering reality can be a bit much to bear. Not only does it become mentally draining, but it can also be physically draining. While it is an overwhelming task to care for an aging parent, it is not impossible. You are able to manage your own life while taking care of an elderly parent.

Taking Time for Yourself

This seems like such a selfish task, but a task it is. The reason I refer to it as a task is because throughout the day, when you’re caring for your elderly parent, you can become inundated with the tasks that are required for their well-being. In order for you to maintain your own well-being, you have to put a few tasks on the to-do list for yourself. Things such as taking a walk, reading a book, or listening to a cheerful song can make all the difference in giving you the extra strength you need. 

I remember one time when my mother and I left the doctor’s office, I couldn’t get the thought out of my head of her being hooked up to ecg machines and the like. The doctors needed to run several tests to find out why my mother was having problems. The thought of my mother’s heart not working properly, and this image recurring in my mind, made me feel bogged down and depressed. After I got my mother home and got her settled, I politely asked her if she wouldn’t mind if I took a moment to step outside and walk around the neighborhood. That 15-minute walk did wonders for me. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want.

Is Hemp an Answer?

Hopefully, this section will make you laugh. I remember having a conversation with my mother and her telling me she was having problems sleeping. I bluntly asked her, while I was laughing, have you considered smoking hemp? She laughed so hard I thought she was going to hurt herself, but she admitted that the thought did cross her mind. She then went on to make it perfectly clear that if she was going to smoke the stuff she wanted the real stuff, you know, the marijuana. 

We continued laughing and began talking about how much fun we had on our most recent Christmas trip to Hilton Head, South Carolina. That was a fun night. If you or your parents are considering CBD or hemp products, it is important to do it under the care of a physician. Considering their fragile state, you don’t want to do anything that would exacerbate an existing problem.

Keep It in Perspective

As mentioned before, caring for an elderly parent can be quite overwhelming. It can consume your life in so many ways; there’s not enough time in the day to mention them all. Understanding your limits can keep you from becoming so overwhelmed. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. During this difficult time in my life, as I watch my mother become fragile and weak, it helps me when I’m able to reach out to my brother and ask him to step in and look over mom while I take a day for myself. This is not being selfish. This is you taking care of you. If you’re not able to take care of yourself, then you won’t be able to effectively take care of your aging parents. There may be some tasks that you feel no one else can do but you, but I have news for you, other people can do the things that you can do. If you ask them, you’ll find they will be glad to chip in whenever you need them.

I hope this information can provide you with some comfort as you continue your care for your most precious jewels—your parents. Make no mistake about it, you can do this. Your parents will appreciate your care and concern as you help them at this time in their lives.

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