This week my dad turned 87 and my mom turned 82. They are still self sufficient, but they like my husband and I checking on them often. Last year they had to sell their home, of 30 years, out in the country, because they no longer could take care of it. They moved down the street from us so they could be close, in case they needed us and many times they have. They have adjusted well to living in town, but there is so much they cannot do anymore, like change a light bulb because they cannot balance themselves on a chair or ladder.
The world has changed so much in their life time and they are out of touch with technology and have no desire to learn anything about it. The only way they stay in touch with their grand kids is by phone, which is difficult since they can’t hear very will. I feel sad because they are so disconnected from the world. When we get together as a family, they miss a lot of what is said because of their hearing loss. A lot of their friends have passed on and I know that must be hard for them. My dad repeats himself a lot and my mother gets frustrated with him sometimes and he with her. It is hard to see them struggle with the frustrations of getting older.
I often wonder what it will be like for me as I get older. I am trying to learn from what I have seen in their life and hopefully avoid some of the things I see them going through. I am trying to embrace change instead of resist it. It is hard to keep up with the technology and sometimes I wish the world would stop and let me off, but I know that is not going to happen. I do not want to be left behind and I want to stay connected to my grand kids as much as I can.
There is no doubt that the world has changed dramatically in the last 25 years and I cannot imagine what it will look like in another 25 years. I will be 88 years old then and God only knows what my life will be like. My goal is to still be engaged in life and growing, embracing change.
For now, I am trying to be a good daughter and accept my parents for where they are. I cannot change their life and the frustration they are experiencing getting older, but I can be there for them so they know they are not alone.
Vickie Parker, LMFT
Online counseling @ vickiemft.com