Some parents find themselves making their own way through their golden years, while their children live their own lives. However, sometimes it's important to provide companionship to your elderly parents even when they are not rushing to ask you for it. Many elderly parents do not want to be a burden to their children. Some would like to maintain as much of their own independence as possible, without their nagging children. All in all, it's a joy when there is balance. When your elderly parents can maintain their freedom and independence, but still have time well-spent with you, that is where the balance really works for everyone.
In this week's guest post by Carmel M Audsley shares how important it is to value your elderly parents and how much they need love and companionship too.
Elderly Parents Need Your Love and Companionship
When was the last time you phoned your parents or called in for a visit? It's difficult to find the time when you have a busy career, a partner with a busy career and children to love and nurture. Your parents were there for you when you were growing up, but now as they age perhaps you have grown away from them.
Loneliness is the scourge of old age and many people suffer from it. The phone call from your mother that comes in the middle of a busy meeting or when you are trying to prepare dinner after a long day at work can be a bit of a nuisance. What interesting subject could your mother have to discuss. All she does is stay home all day and perhaps tend the garden. Her world is so small now and yours is so big. Do you really want to hear about what's happening in her neighbourhood, or about her health problems? Probably not, but think about what it is that she needs from you. You are her child and she misses you. She wants to hear about your day and your life and she wants to be a part of it, but you've outgrown idle conversation and don't really listen to what she has to say. You have more important things to do and you have probably let her know that, perhaps not in words, but by the way you don't contribute to the conversation or are always the first person to end the phone call.
Remember when you were in school and something, either good or bad, happened to you. You couldn't wait to get home and tell Mum. Now the roles are reversed. She wants to hear a reassuring word from you and she wants to share her news, however small it may be in your scheme of things.
There is probably a lot more going on in your parents' lives than you realise. There may be health issues or they may be afraid of approaching a fragile old age when they will lose power over their own lives and their independence. In short, they need you.
If you value your elderly parents, don't wait for the next phone call. Drop what you are doing and phone them now. Ask how they are and really listen to the response. Say you are going shopping and ask if there is anything they need or would like you to pick up for them. Offer to take them for coffee or lunch on the weekend. It will brighten their lives to know that their adult children care for them and have taken the time to be with them. You will be old yourself one day and you will be setting a wonderful example for your children about how they should to treat you.
Carmel McMurdo Audsley is an Australian Author and Journalist. Her latest novella 'The Last Hurrah' follows an elderly couple who have both been diagnosed with terminal illnesses and who are slightly disconnected from their adult children. They decide to take one last cruise - and not return. Their adult children realise just what they have lost, but it is too late. The story is set in Brisbane and the South Pacific.