Raising Healthy Parents

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Never in a million years did I think I’d be back, living at home, taking care of my family. Only this time, I’m not referring to my awesome, talented and successful sons. I’m talking about my parents.

But can you really raise parents?

They’re certainly not children although, listening to their colorful banter, you might think their behavior merits an old fashioned ‘time out.’ The parents, in this case, are my very own much-loved, well-respected octogenarian ‘muddah’ and ‘fadduh.’ They brought me into this world, gave me unconditional love and support and (all too often) unsolicited advice.

That said, I literally owe them my life. 

In the last few years, it has become more and more evident that my parents, while still independent (but with curmudgeonly tendencies), have begun slowing down and are showing signs of needing a bit of help now and again. To that end, I agreed to live with them, part time, while also continuing my musical career and still maintaining a personal life – that of a woman in her 50’s.

Here are a few things I’ve already noticed:

1) Kids are not the only ones who say the darnedest things
2) I’m now the most savvy and technologically skilled person in the room.
3) Child-proofing has an entirely different meaning.

About that… I’m sure I’m not alone in wondering about the point of childproofing bottles of pills. Sure, when your children are younger, you want them to be safe. But, seriously, any child worth his weight can open one of those bottles in under 5 seconds. Not so for many older adults – due to crippling arthritis and bad eyesight.

One of the most popular elder-friendly items in the drugstore these days (after Depends) is a pill box divided into days of the week. You simply put all their colorful, shapely little pills into the appropriately labelled compartments at the beginning of each week and allow them the dignity of taking their own meds. After all, they’re only ‘sightly’ challenged. And I can’t even imagine how frustrating that must be.

So, on those too long days when I feel like my temper and patience fall just a hair too short, I try and think back to my own childhood – when my parents had to put up with my brother and me and the 16th year of my life that Mom still lovingly refers to as anything but sweet – and remember that, at the end of the day, this too shall pass.

Most importantly, I now realize that one day my future happiness may rest in the hands of my own children and they damn well better remember… I called them awesome!


6 thoughts on “Raising Healthy Parents

  1. Wow. I went thru this with my parents. It is challenging, but rewarding and gives you (the caretaker) the opportunity to give back. The trick is not to take things too seriously, understand that it’s a journey we all will take if we live long enough. Leave them their choices and control as much as possible and remember dignity is everything. They are your parents, no matter how they may act out. They are not your children. Responsibilities may shift, but that paradigm must remain the same. It is a privilege to be there, but it can be exhausting. Always make time for yourself, keep yourself whole and healthy FIRST or resentment will rule your days.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Those are some REALLY great points, Jim. I could imagine it’s easy to forget this stuff when things get challenging…keep on keepin’ on, Ellen! Seems like some good tips could come your way in these comments : )


    • Thanks Jim. You’re absolutely right on all counts. That’s why I just took a short vacation up north. Nothing big just time away with no responsibilities. Just me and the mountains and the falls and the sunsets 😊


  2. Dear Ellen, your writing brings back memories of my own years of caring for my parents. Although I didn’t live with them I lived very close, as you know. I was so blessed to have Saija and Ulvid nearby, as well, to take their share of caring.
    A lot of what we do for our parents has a bit of guilt attached, but the overwhelming motivation, which I understand to be yours also, is the love we’ve received all our lives, yes, unconditional. Actually, it’s from them that we learned the meaning of love in the first place.
    Your writing is a pleasure to read! It’s a nice combination of weight-of-responsibility lightened by wistfulness and affectionate humor.
    Nice design, too πŸ™‚
    Love Gunta

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your kind and supportive words. You DO know me well. I’m doing the best I can while balancing a lot on my plate. I can only hope, at the end of the day, that it made a difference 🌷


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