On October 14th and 21st, Hebrew SeniorLife gathered together geriatric thought-leaders, researchers and physicians to hold an importance discussion about the steps one should take to help aging parents as they make decisions regarding health and well-being. Those discussions culminated in an ebook, “You and Your Aging Parents”, which Hebrew SeniorLife is offering as a free downloadable pdf. The discussion also inspired our “You and Your Aging Parents” blog series, a series which includes this blog post and covers the various issues and concerns you may encounter as you and your parent/s continue on the journey of aging.
While aging is a natural process, circumstances along the way will change. It is important to focus throughout the process more on whether your parents are enjoying a good quality of life and have a sense of purpose and meaning. If your parents lose focus, or become despondent and withdrawn, you should address this change with them. Early identification is very important in addressing changes that may not be self-evident to others. Talk to your parents about how these changes are impacting their lives and how they are dealing with it. Ask if this is preventing them from having a meaningful life and, if it is, ask them if you can help them solve the problem.
Remember, there are steps that can be taken to prevent decline but often it can’t be fully stopped. You can change the slope of the aging process but aging is, by definition, a gradual process of slowing down. There’s only so much energy and resiliency we all have as we get older, and your parents will have to deal with the daily challenges and tasks of life based on that.