Slow down, you’re running too fast…
Photo Credit: iStockPhoto
I enjoyed this article on the TenderLovingEldercare.com blog about slowing down for our elderly parents. I notice this especially when I talk to mom. Mom is hard of hearing, especially on the phone. I talk too fast. She doesn’t understand, but she doesn’t say anything. I catch on when she answers the wrong question. Then I have to repeat it all, slower. Sometimes v-e-r-y s—l—o—w—l–y…
It’s the same when I’m there. I’m usually there for two to four days, with travel days on either end. While I’m there, we schedule several doctors’ appointments. I deal with any of her finances or other paperwork. Meanwhile, I’m trying to stay on top of whatever I can from here. I feel like I’m running the whole time. I often feel frantic as I rush to manage everything, and seldom take time to just sit and visit. Mom and I are both exhausted by the end of the day, so rather than cooking we tend to bring food in.
I forget that Mom is almost 94. That my time with her is limited. We’ve never had a great relationship so it’s easy to fall into the “do my duty” routine rather than trying to get to know someone I’ve never really known and have little hope of knowing. In my hopelessness, I move too fast. Talk too fast. Expect too much.
When my brother comes, he sits and talks with her. Rubs her feet. Cooks her meals. Listens. I really need to take a different attitude. Yep, I do.
Take Care of Yourself and Your Relationship
Photo Credit: Mike Baird
My husband has Parkinson’s Disease. He was diagnosed in 2010, and sadly, it has progressed faster than either of us expected. Frailties I had not expected to occur for many years are already beginning to creep into our lives. That means that I need to do more than I want to or often can. Adding this to the responsibilities I have for Mom, I often feel that all I do is care for others. And yes, I confess–I often feel sorry for myself. Sometimes even resent what I’ve given up to be available to others.
That’s why I appreciate reminders like Angela Robb gives in her article, A Caregiver’s Journey. I appreciate her optimism and can-do attitude. She focuses on the things we can do for ourselves as well as what we need to do as a couple. I especially like what she says about readjusting your plans to do what you can do when you can do it. I’ve been thinking a lot about that lately. Thinking that even though we have just a lot of money on much-needed, long-deferred maintenance on our home, we also need to do the traveling we’ve wanted to do while we can still do it. That will require major adjustments in my life and priorities, as well as in our finances. But really, we can’t put it off, can we?
What are you doing to care for yourself? What strategies do you use to serve well? What do you need to stop putting off?