Left, my maternal grandpa and grandma, and mom as a baby; Right, my mom at 11 years old.
When I was little, my grandma always took me to visit her father, my great grandpa, at the assisted living facility (formerly called nursing home). I loved to go with her even though my great grandpa always thought I was my mom. That made me feel good because everyone who knew my mom knows how pretty she was, and I definitely did not feel as pretty as I knew she was. At that time, I doubt Alzheimer’s was diagnosed (maybe it was, and they felt no need to tell me about it).
In retrospect, I find it interesting how my grandma never made me feel sad or bad for anyone who may have had things a littler rougher (by appearances) than others; it is what it is, make the best of it. Fortunately, she died without having to go through much of the mental challenges that sometimes face the elderly. I have many friends who have aging parents and they are encountering the challenges of facing not only their parents’ mortality, but in turn (probably mostly subconsciously) their own.
Here are a few reminders of what aging parents and friends are possibly experiencing:
-Loss of friends and family at a much higher rate than we, causing or increasing depression
-Loss of some faculties, causing embarrassment
-Loss or decline in independence (how would you feel if you were told “you really shouldn’t be driving”?)
-Loss of memory
-Loss of mobility, minor or not
For me the biggest challenge that I think I will face when I am (much :-)) older is the depression. I lived with a woman who was 83 and she told me “all my friends are dying.” I will never forget that. But, as I learned from my grandma, it is what it is, I will make the best of it, and always put myself in others’ shoes and not judge. Compassion above all, we all deserve it and we all need it. Peace…