A guide to understanding the Elderly.
I don’t know about you but for me the older I get the quicker time flies, maybe it's because as a child I had parents who looked after me, I had no cares or worries about food or money I went to school and did my daily jobs at home and spent my summer days sailing on the river.
My teenage years was more of a challenge but we all can look back now and identify just how much of a nightmare we were to our parents and teachers. Then we grow up into adults and form relationships, gain our independence and maybe started our own family.
Work, bills and responsibility follow as we become embedded in our lives and of those around us and our elderly parents are there watching us face life and remembering how they did all this, the circle of life as I once heard whilst watching the Lion King.
One thing which we may both notice but easily miss is the changes our elderly parents go through, they are our parents and we know hem and love them, but there are probably lots of things we don’t know about them like our children may not know about us.
I have had some really interesting chats with my parents and I have found out all sorts of things not just about them but other members of my extended family. My parents have turned into my friends and we chat about many subjects.
Do you know your parents? Time is running out and you may not have the chance to do this again.
Today (March 7th) is the anniversary of my mother passing away and I am so grateful for the time I had chatting to her, I do wish I could have spent more time with her. At her funeral there were stories shared about her life that I had never heard before, how much nicer it would have been if I had heard those stories from my beloved Mother.
Now I phone my Father every other day and make regular trips to see him.
I am still getting to know my Dad finding out new things and still learning from him, he is my inspiration and he is full of wisdom. Probably because he has been there and done it and has learnt the lessons himself.
I have the opportunity to tell my children about their grandparents and great-grandparents, here is a picture of my great, great, great, great Grandfather; I wouldn’t have known anything about him if it wasn’t for talking to my father and Uncle
If your parents develop dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, then by knowing them more will be helpful for you in the remaining years or moths of their lives, If you have arranged for caregivers to look after your parents, this information can make so much difference to the lives of your parents.
There is a lot of guidance available online for the advice of keeping our elderly parents active such as hobbies and interest that they have done in the past and reintroducing them to these activities (if they are able) is very important especially after they have been diagnosed with an illness.
My Father who is in his 80s recently had the opportunity to do some archery with our extended family, most of whom did not know that my Father once enjoyed this activity and to everyone’s surprise he was the best shot of the day. He spoke about this activity many times after that event and I saw the joy it gave him.
Ways to Better Understand Your Elderly Parents
Below is a list of things you could ask your parents (remember to use open-ended questions)
Tell me some stories about the family you have never shared before?
Tell me about the worst job you had?
What did you know about your parents that may have surprised you?
Where have you travelled and where would you of liked to have travelled too?
What did you do as a child?
What was your biggest accomplishment?
What are your best memories and share a happy one?
What are you most proud of?
What fashion did you wear that your parents disapproved of?
What are some of your first memories?
What subjects did you enjoy at school?
Tell me about your first date with Mum/Dad?
How did you propose to Mum/Dad
What world events had the most impact on you?
Who did you look up to, your role model?
The more you know and understand about your parents the easier it will be to care for them and you will feel closer than ever to them. It will also help your caregiver in providing support, help and activities with them. There is no point in getting the knitting out if it’s something they have no interest in and I wouldn’t recommend you do archery in the house either.
One day you can share these stories with others.
Please share your stories with us on our Facebook page.
We here at Your Care and Support are bringing the heart back into care, please contact us if you have any questions about help for your elderly parents