Sunday, January 9, 2011

Looking After Your Elderly Parents: Become Senior Friendly

Last month my workplace offered a course on becoming "Senior Friendly". My co-workers knew I'd appreciate us being given the designation as I love my seniors. Having taken care of my Mom until she passed on at 95, I was eager to see what we'd learn.

We were given walkers and with our legs tied together tried to open a heavy door and get outside. We tried to do the same in a wheelchair. None of this was easy at all!

The most heart-touching exercise was wearing glasses to simulate different forms of vision impairment. Mom suffered with macular degeneration. I tried to be empathetic but I know I failed miserably. When I wore those glasses and really understood for the first time how it was for Mom, tears came to my eyes. Now I finally understood and my heart went out to her all over again.

It's hard for younger people not to lose patience. We live in such a hectic, fast-moving time. When we are behind someone in a wheelchair or using a cane or walker, we might begin sighing and fidgeting. Try to be patient!

Nobody asks for any age-related issues to affect their lives. Everyone wants to be vibrant and mobile. And these same things may be affecting us before we know it. Do we want loved ones or strangers becoming angry with us?

I would give anything to have Mom back with me and do things over. With a lot more understanding. But I can't. The best I can do is "pay it forward". So please be patient. And if a "Senior Friendly" course has seminars in your area, think about attending. Have younger people you know consider attending as well.

Life is better for all of us if we could just slow down a little and feel the love toward all people, no matter what their age.