I recently had the privilege of seeing and listening to Amy O’Rourke talking about caring for an ageing parent. Amy has a Masters in Public Health Administration, a Masters in Gerontology and she has worked with older adults for thirty years – clearly she is an expert in her field.
Amy talked about the three main areas where carers of ageing parents can lower their stress. These include a denial of reality, knowing the basic ground rules, and accepting the process as a lifestyle change.
She believes we have a youth obsessed culture, impressed by anti-ageing creams, and cosmetic surgeries. We are afraid of death, of endings, and find it difficult to accept that our parents are growing older, getting smaller, moving more slowly, and making shakier judgments. They are no longer the ones we turn to for advice and opinions, as we used to do.
The basic ground rules include accepting that there is not a “role reversal” – she says this is a Big Fat Lie, and it should never happen that we become our parents’ parent. Instead we should accept the ageing process as a new way of relating and communicating, accepting that our parents’ lives are changing and not expecting that they can “go back” to their previous active lifestyle.
Ageing is a one way transition, Amy reminds us. There is no going back, and to have the care of an ageing parent is a definite lifestyle change. She believes it is a rare opportunity, not to be missed.
If you’re stressed about an ageing parent, elder mediation can help. I have practiced in elder law and mediation for over twenty years. Contact me, Lyn Lucas, to find out more on 4929 3995 or firstname.lastname@example.org
You can watch Amy’s YouTube video here.