Some things are better left alone. That might sound defeatist but there are just times when one must leave well enough alone.
Here are a few examples concerning older people:
- If you ask for a different medication, you may suffer worse side effects.
- If you send out appliances to be fixed, you will find yourself without them for possibly long periods of time.
- If you wait around for perfect weather conditions, you will be spending a lot more time stuck inside.
- If you wait for others to do things for you that you’re capable of doing yourself, you will lose your independence at an alarming rate.
Most aging Americans today refuse to let their limitations rule their lives. Instead, they find ways around their disabilities and power ahead. I hope my generation has as much moxy and determination as theirs. It’s to their credit (those that are thriving) that they’ve defied the odds and entered into a new world of technology and hope!
DIY – there are some things I enjoy doing for myself. These include: knitting, needlepoint, coloring, collage-making and jigsaw puzzles. Granted, they’re all mostly artsy-crafty types of activities but I get a lot of satisfaction out of completing my own projects, without help, and with (hopefully) pleasing results.
But when living with my elderly parents, I find it much easier to just pick up the slack. And that seems plenty agreeable to them as well… most of the time.
I understand and respect their need for independence – but only up to a point. Sometimes it just makes more sense (and takes less time) to do things myself. I also hate feeling like I’m overseeing them or rushing them to finish certain tasks because I have other places I need to be and work I need to get done.
It’s not like I plan on remodeling or doing major electrical work around our home. But, between my constant need for organization and cleanliness (above all else), I’ll continue with my little projects as long as they make me happy… busying my hands and keeping them far away from the cookie jar!*
*Cookie Jar – from Paint Your Own Pottery, Stowe, VT
Plate – from Fishs Eddy, NYC
Cookies – from Keebler
I’m not sure which is harder… having your driver’s license taken away or having to tell your parents (the very ones who taught you how to drive in the first place) that it’s just not safe anymore for them to be behind the wheel. I’d say it’s a pretty good indicator after their second or third fender bender. You know, the ‘accidents’ that were caused because they couldn’t see just how close the car was in front of them and their reflexes were just a bit too slow. Or when they start making up silly excuses for why they don’t want to drive to the store (that’s at the end of the block):
1) I just got undressed OR
2) I’d have to get dressed OR
3) I just sat down OR
4) It looks like rain/snow
Any way you look at it, it’s got to feel like your independence is at stake – just one more thing making you feel old and useless – and that, from then on, you’ll be dependent on someone else for yet another thing. As for that ‘someone else’ (let’s call her, Ellen), she’ll now be relegated to the status of permanent chauffeur. That means for everytime your parents need to:
- Grocery shop
- See the doctor
- Pick up their meds
- Get the newspaper (because whose parents read The Times online?)
- Go to the library (because whose parents use a Kindle?)
- Go to the bank (because whose parents bank online?)
- Have lunch with friends
- Visit their grandkids
- Go to a funeral
So you stop and think: “whose idea was this again?” And then you realize… oh, yeah, it was mine!