Aging sucks! Body parts inconveniently break down, emergency room visits become routine events, hospital bills shock you, and your mailbox gets filled with resources and products that all of a sudden make sense. And I haven’t even begun to talk about my own aging experiences.
I am referring to aging parents.
My dad recently fell ill from a nasty infection, and it had my entire family in a tailspin. We were called on to expertly navigate his healthcare network, practicing a lot of patience and handling with care all of our family’s emotions that were flying around like spastic woodpeckers. In five weeks we visited the emergency room twice, dined in the hospital cafeteria during his three-day stay, made trips to a nursing facility for a week-and-a-half, brought Dad home with 24 hour care, and nursed him back to a new normal. My mom initially freaked out when confronted with new tasks she had to do and lifestyle changes she had to make. (She eventually came through and performed like a champion.) My dad listened to my mom with love and understanding and did whatever she said to do to help him get back on track. My brother and I stepped up to the plate and painstakingly embraced the shift in the parenting structure.
Our families and friends loved us by listening as we yelled and cried, climbing mountains of helplessness, frustration, sadness, and hope.
This was a hard five weeks. But there is no other place I would have chosen to be than with my family during this time. We have new tools, new experiences, and a new appreciation for our lives and each other… as the journey continues.
Empower yourself by completing all of your own and your parents’ power of attorney documents and healthcare directives, and get your own affairs in order for end of life. Trust me, when hit with an unexpected turn of events, living in the moment will be a lot less anxiety producing.
Tags: aging parents, estate, health directive, power of attorney