Growing old…

So, in staying a bit with the grandparent’s theme since I wanted to support Grandparent’s day which has already passed…  BUT I thought I’d write about getting older… 

And no, not ME getting older.  But the our grandparents, parents and society in general.

Have you ever noticed that there seems to be an invisible age past which everyone becomes unable to think for themselves?

And no, I don’t mean this literally happening…  I mean the age at which people around someone thinks they can no longer think for themselves.  

Have you ever noticed, that as our grandparents (or parents) age, there seems to be this “age limit” to their ability to think for themselves. 

All of a sudden, they are ignored or shushed.  Their opinions no longer matter.  I’m not sure what this magical age is but the older someone gets, the less value there is placed on their opinions and knowledge.

And yes, I am just as guilty of doing this as everyone else.

Think about it…  All of a sudden, grandma can’t think for herself and everyone else has to make the decisions for her in “her best interests.”  But is this really what’s happening?  Can she really NOT make her own decisions or is everyone around her just assuming she can’t?  

Did she misplace her car keys one too many times and now the family has decided she has Alzheimer’s.   Does she forget names a bit too easily for everyone’s comfort?  

Or is she really developing dementia?  Alzheimer’s?  Something else?

It’s a balancing act I’ve realized.  I’ve seen both sides…  A grandparent who up until his dying day was incredibly intelligent and fiercely independent but needed care.  And a great-grandmother who developed dementia who had to live in a nursing home the last few years of her life.

And with each, there was always a hesitation from family to get involved with the care of the individual in question.

Is it too early?  Do they know what is really going on?  What can I really do or should I just make all the decisions?

There is no easy answer to any of this…  However, I do have a suggestion.

Talk with your parents, your grandparents, your kids, your family as early as possible about what will happen when this time comes.

Talk about it.  Open up the lines of communication.  Getting old is great!  It is!  

Okay, not THAT great.  But as I age, I realize how much more I get out of life compared to the years before…  I have a lot more aging to do, thankfully, but have already started having the “tough” decisions with my mom and the quad.

I want to have control over what happens when I age.  So, I’m taking control now.  And I suggest that everyone else does too.

Open up and talk about it.  Talk about aging.  Talk about death and dying.  Have the hard discussions early, when you still can.  When you know you’re going to get the answers or support that you need.  

I told my mom that when the times comes, I do not want to make the decision for her.  I want to know her decision ahead of time and I want to help her make the plans.  She agreed.

The quad knows my thoughts on aging and death.  We’ve started to outline our plans.  It’s a bit different for us due to his disability so we’ve started this discussion much earlier than most.  but it’s important.  It’s my life.  It’s his life.  It’s our daughter’s life…

Because of that, we’ve started to have the talk.  What about you?

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