As hundreds of thousands of people all over America celebrate Independence Day – a day known for its historical importance – just as many are saddened about their loss of independence. I’m not talking about loss of freedom as it relates to country, history or politics, but loss of independence in aging.
Hundreds of thousands of seniors – our parents, loved ones, friends and neighbors – are losing their independence as they return to a state of helplessness and dependence once again, as they age.
Another loss of freedom for those of us who are here to care for them is the loss of control we may feel. We feel helpless; we can’t help them and we certainly can’t stop the process of aging. So, what can we do?
Here’s something we can do to make the journey a little less bumpy:
Don’t Do Anything: Just Be
When we get to the point where there’s nothing else we can do, we can change our mindset on that notion. We can choose to make the most of a difficult situation by not doing much of anything in the physical sense, but just by being.
Just be with your elders. You don’t have to have all the answers, but you can take time to have conversations, interview them about their lives. Ask them questions, listen to them as they speak. Try to imagine what it might have been like during that time, before you were born.
Ask them to share their feelings and memories of what it was like for them during their younger newlywed years, during their parenting years, and while they were going through the empty nest syndrome. What kind of feelings were involved when they first found out they were going to be grandparents?
Use a transformational journal for yourself like this one here to recreate your feelings and thoughts: https://www.createspace.com/6246320
Ask them for their Pearls of Wisdom. They have plenty. They have walked the path before us, know exactly what we are going through, and most importantly, understand. They may be able to share a pearl or two and, at the end of the day if we’re lucky, maybe we can string a whole necklace together with all those pearls.
They have so much to offer, so much to give and so much wisdom and knowledge. That wisdom was earned, listen to them and honor their experiences.
So, this Independence Day, keep an elder in your mind and close to your heart. As you celebrate at the beach or playing golf, remember the independence and freedom you now have; relish it and cherish it, but most importantly remember to make time for those who have walked before you.