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Aging Parents

QUESTION: How can I cope with aging parents?

ANSWER:

Coping with aging parents is a complex issue that can easily overwhelm adult children. We would rather believe that issues related to growing old will somehow take care of themselves. Instead of planning ahead and making choices that will secure the future of our parents and ourselves, we leave much to chance and would rather believe that we will serendipitously stumble onto the right choices at the right time.

Several important aspects need to be considered in caring for the elderly. It helps to look at them as distinct parts, yet recognize that each is part of the whole puzzle of elder care. Looking at the big picture makes us discouraged, overwhelmed, and immobilized. Instead, let's look at the several component tasks involved in coping with aging parents. This will help us to focus on parts of the whole and make it easier to prepare a comprehensive plan for elder care.
  • Meet the emotional needs of both the elderly parents and the caregivers
  • Provide for health needs associated with aging and lifestyle changes (such as prosthetics, medication management, addressing mental health issues related to aging, and equipping living spaces with equipment suited to the handicapped).
  • Legal and financial decision making and paperwork related to power of attorney, living wills, estate wills, management of financial debt, and funeral/memorial care.
  • Ethical and moral choices that involve preserving dignity, offering respect, and engendering empowerment to the elderly.
  • Meet the spiritual needs of your parents by encouraging church attendance, visits from a local pastor, and reading Bible passages to them.
As we examine these tasks, one at a time, we can formulate what must be done to address these needs. It is not easy to cope with aging parents, but faith can play a very important role in how we cope. Aging America Resources Care Ministry, one of many organizations existing to help caregivers draw upon the resources of their faith in difficult situations (such as coping with aging parents) offers these words of comfort in their Prayers for Caregivers.

Lord God, help me to become more like You in my relationships with my family members. During these difficult times, help me to remember that everyone is trying to help and do what is best. Lord I pray that you will fill me with an extra measure of your Spirit to guide me. When I am in disagreement with someone, help me not to respond in anger, selfishness, arrogance, or pride, but in humility, understanding that it is your Will that will prevail. Help me Lord to have a servant's attitude and be loving and kind in all that I do. Lord I pray that through our differences, we come together as a family in our faith and our love. In Jesus' name, amen. 1

Learn More About Caring For The Elderly


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