I have worn glasses since I was six years old. Yesterday I saw the eye doctor and he suggested moving into progressives. Progressives the new less painful language for bi-focals. If there is a sign you are hitting middle age that is certainly one of them.
But it got me to thinking about the other things that start to happen to those of us of a certain age. Like the transition in the relationship with your parents. For most people at some point in time their relationship with their parents shifts-you start to be the caretaker instead of the other way around.
There is a lot written about the burdens of caretaking both for spouses and children. But there seems to be a lack of writing on the losses that come with this shift in the relationship. If you have had a good relationship with your parents then it is hard to lose that support and instead be the person supporting them. If you have had a bad relationship it can bring on grief that you truly will never have the relationship with your parent(s) you wanted.
Grief is hard. When there is a loss such as a death you may receive a lot of support, but then it dwindles. While you still struggle with grief for months or even years the people who support you have moved on. When you have a situation where you become a caregiver for an aging parent it may go on for years. People don’t know how to help so often they stop offering. If they haven’t experienced that loss themselves they may not understand it and be able to be supportive. Caregivers also are the people that have spent their lives helping others so they don’t reach out and ask for what they need.
For those of you dealing with the shift to caregiver to your parent I encourage you to reach out to the grief/caregiver resources in your community. It is so challenging to see your parent shift from an independent person to one who needs care. Give yourself space to deal with your grief and loss. Dealing with some of it as it is happening can allow you to be present with your parent during this time. The roles change but if you can find some acceptance around that you can enjoy the time you have with your parent.
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