Caring for Aging Parents in Transition

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adult daughter holding aging mother's hand smiling

By Jennifer Browne, Co-Founder of OneBody3.com

Change is constant and unavoidable. People typically don’t resist change; they resist being changed. Change gives us the opportunity to revisit our values and renew our minds by making sure our thoughts, beliefs and actions match our purpose. 

For many of us, the mind is engaged in a subconscious state of automatic responses and habits. When we experience change or the stress that comes with change, our automatic responses and habits are challenged. Transitions give us the opportunity to renew our thoughts, beliefs and actions by aligning them to purposeful and intentional living. 

Several years ago, my Grandmother fell and broke her hip. It was tragic in so many ways and quickly became a huge burden on the family. The individual strengths of each member of the family became evident, quickly followed by the conflict that made us all different. I struggled to find meaning and purpose in the situation. 

Aging parents is a change that is unavoidable and can create an immense amount of stress and conflict in our lives. When stressed, it becomes more important than ever to understand the way that we connect to others by understanding our needs and our preferred method of resolving conflict. When I found myself in reflection during my Grandmother’s hip, I remember reflecting on these questions regarding myself and my relationship with her and the family. 

  • What strength do I bring to the family? 
  • What would be missing if I were not here or did not get involved? 
  • What does my Grandmother thank me for or notice about me? 
  • What do I know about her and her needs? What have I seen her look to me for?
  • How can I use my strength to support her or even another family member during this transition?
  • What can I commit to doing? 
  • How will I know I was purposeful and intentional? 

One of the traps we can get into while caring for an aging parent is to compare our strengths to someone else in the family or to assume that what I bring to the family is not valuable. When we take the time in transitions to reflect on who we were created to be and the unique way we see the world, we are able to meet our family members with purpose and intention and offer an opportunity to bring unity and strength to our relationships.