Thank you to all who shared great comments for Think Beyond the Nest. Yes, we certainly are in a unique stage of life! I know many of us are at the point in our lives where our parents are getting up there in years and may need some extra assistance – a natural part of life. Phil and I have aging parents as well.
My dad passed away ten years ago. My 91 year-old mother is in a skilled nursing facility in Hawaii and is immobile and nonverbal after years of suffering with dementia and Alzheimer’s. I feel as though I have already lost my mom. It’s been tough to experience her decline, especially long distance, but she chose this facility years ago and clearly expressed a desire to stay in Hawaii. Because she made this clear and cognitive choice and made it known to her children, I feel so good knowing that is where and how she wanted to spend the rest of her life.
A couple of years ago I came across a book called BEING MORTAL: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande. Both Phil and I found it extremely helpful and enlightening in preparing ourselves for how best to assist and support our parents as they naturally grow older and more frail.
The author provides a very interesting and informative history of how we got to where we are today culturally regarding caring for the elderly and its impact on how we think about dying. I love how he encourages us to have those tough “end of life” conversations with our parents as early as possible. I often think back to a sermon our minister gave where she stated, “Spoiler alert, we’re all going to die.” Yes, we are! As difficult as it is, I think we must courageously strive to honor and respect the wishes of our elderly parents and help guide and support them to the kind of end they want – not what we want for them, but what they want. Having those tough conversations early certainly helps in that goal.
If you haven’t read BEING MORTAL, Phil and I highly recommend it. If you have read the book, what did you think of it? Are there any other books or resources that have been helpful to you as you support elderly parents?