As an Adult Child of Aging Parents What Are You Grateful For?
It’s sad, but a fact that most Adult Children of Aging Parents are afraid to discuss the changes they see occurring in their parents’ lives. There are many reasons:
Fear of being nosy
Too busy with their own lives to get involved
Scared of what the future holds
Not wanting to take on any responsibility for their parents
The list could go on, but I think you get the idea. This blog is all about encouraging you to engage in conversations with your aging parents. I want to help you find ways to make it easier to face the changes, prepare for aging yourselves, and assist your parents as they grow older and prepare for death.
One of the easiest ways to start any conversation is to talk about what you’re grateful for. This opens doors. It brings back fond memories. Stories are told that have never been heard before. Families grow closer together through sharing these mutual exchanges.
Here’s some of the things on my gratitude list:
My parents encouraged me to be curious about life
I was given the opportunity to develop musical talents
As a family we shared dinner together every night
My mother was a good cook
My father worked hard and provided well for his family
Expectations were clear and rewarded when accomplished
Punishment was swift and never without warning
My parents were always there if we needed them for emotional support
Again, I could make this list quite lengthy, but I think you understand where I’m going with this.
Don’t make it a task to talk to your parents. Start slowly, engage them in meaningful conversation and stay aware of how they respond to your interest. Once you’ve engaged in some easy conversations it will be easier to talk about the changes in health, patterns in living, deteriorating eyesight, or the need for one of them to stop driving.
Take it in steps. The important thing is to get the conversations started in a comfortable manner and then move on to the tougher issues.
The next time you are visiting with your parents start telling them some of the things you are grateful for. This will meet some of their developmental need to feel appreciated and show them their contribution has meant something in life. In return they will probably start opening up about how they feel about you and your accomplishments.
So, what are you grateful for and how will you share it?