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How To Understand And Encourage Your Elderly Friends

Feb 11, 2008
This is the story of a woman facing aging and disabilities. Even if you are not in this situation, you probably have a parent or grandparent who is.

No longer a strong independent woman, a disabled female senior citizen must learn new ways to cope with her changing lifestyle.

At one time in her life, she was confident, physically strong and mentally alert. She was able to multi-task-cooking, cleaning and seeing to the needs of her husband and children.

How things have changed! Her husband has passed away. Her children have grown and no longer need her nurturing. They have families of their own which takes up their time and energy. Brief phone calls and occasional short visits are what remain of her time with her children.

Her ability to work in her chosen career has long passed. It is a chore just to get out of bed on her own and then her walker is her constant companion. Her doctor is her confidant although she seldom goes to see him anymore because there really isn't anything he can do for her.

She lives on a meager monthly amount of social security, not really enough to meet basic needs. She chooses which medications she can afford to get refilled every month. What she eats is determined by what is on sale and she must wait until someone has time to go to the store for her.

Lately, not only do her legs not want to cooperate, her memory is failing. She tries to hide it and makes excuses for why she has not returned calls she doesn't remember getting. Although she is lonely at times, she often lets the answering machine get her calls. Conversations often don't make sense to her anyway.

Although she would like to tell someone how she feels, she isn't sure how to describe it and doubts if anyone wants to know. When she tried to share with her daughter, the response was not what she had hoped for. Her daughter said, "I hope I never turn out like you."

She fears that if she complains too much, her family will totally avoid her or put her in a nursing home. When her sons come around, she always has projects or chores that need to be done. She feels she is a burden.

The years seem to have passed so quickly. Now the days seem to drag on.

Do you have a parent or grandparent who might be feeling this way? Think about things they need but are afraid to ask. This could be as simple as your time. Remember that we will all be there someday and will want the next generation to look after us.
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