It isn’t something we can fully understand until it happens to us. As caregivers, we’ve all felt the frustration when dad can’t hear at all, but pretends to follow every word of a conversation, or mom gets dressed in seemingly slow motion when you’re late for her doctor’s appointment.
Aging is Not for Sissies
Aging is not for sissies. To cope with impaired vision, decreased mobility and loss of dexterity, you’ve got to be tough. Some seniors may be frail, but they are tenacious. When your body and your mind start to fail, even the simplest tasks, such as getting dressed, reading forms and pushing a grocery cart, are a challenge. Tasks that younger people never give a second thought, represent barriers, obstacles, and limitations for older individuals.
People tend not to realize that what they had previously considered easy tasks, like buttoning a shirt, opening a medication bottle or handling small pills, suddenly require your full concentration and take twice as long to complete when you are suffering from glaucoma, cataracts, and arthritis.
Put yourself in an elderly person’s shoes, even for just five minutes, and you will gain a better understanding of what it’s like to grow older. You’ll gain an appreciation for what seniors deal with. It’s an eye-opening experience.
Aging is Not a Disease
Older people see the world differently than everybody else. Seniors come from different times in the evolution of our society. They view things through a different mental lens.
They’ve experienced more war, famine, destruction and rapid racism. They’ve been around much longer than those around to take care of them. It’s important to keep that humility when helping our aging parents and grandparents.
As they age, they’ll experience pain and limited mobilities. They’ll be tired more and lonely. A lot of this will be outside their control and they’ll become frustrated or depressed. Our jobs as caregivers and family members are to recognize these shifts and make sure they receive the help that they need. Aging should get to be a transition of responsibilities for those that need help to those willing to give help. After all, getting old is a privilege that not everyone gets to experience.