Helping Aging Parents Navigate the Later Years

I am blessed to have my parents still with me. They are in their 80s and relatively healthy. But, they are slowing down. As their children, my sister and I help them with whatever they need. Other family members help, as well. A few weeks ago, their grandsons removed old railroad ties and pulled weeds from their back yard.

A couple of years ago, my mom was in the hospital. My dad walks with a cane and my mom occasionally needs a walker. Their physical limitations are growing but manageable. My mom still does laundry in their basement, refusing to allow us to help her with the stairs. They drive. And, they take care of my aunt, who lives in a nursing home. They want their independence.

How do you know when it’s time to step in? How do you help parents know when it’s time to stop driving, to move to an assisted-care facility or to get them in-home care? What are the healthcare options for aging parents? What do you do when you see signs of dementia? How do you help them without treating them like children?

We will encounter aging issues with our parents. How can we, as writers, help our readers know where to look for answers?

Share your own story. What worked for you? What didn’t work? What do you wish you had done differently?

Write a how-to piece. This will mean research. Talk to experts in the field and share their insights. Offer practical tips that your readers can use. Help them find the right government agencies, choose the right nursing home, find the best living situation that works best for their family.

Write a devotion. Use verses that talk about honoring parents and defending the defenseless. Help your readers understand that God commands us to care for our parents, forgive them for their mistakes and serve them until He calls them home.

Use fiction or poetry to share your insights. This is an indirect way to guide your readers as they deal with these issues.

Consider doing a tie-in to Mother’s Day. How has the meaning of Mother’s Day changed, now that your parents are aging? What are special ways to honor your aging mom?

As people live longer, more of us need direction to help our parents navigate the later years. Our parents took care of us. Now, it’s our turn. And, as writers, we can walk beside our readers because they’re navigating new territory, too.

© Deborah Christensen

 

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Posted on May 8, 2017, in aging, aging parents, family relationships, fiction, forgiveness, health, healthcare, illness, inspiration, interview, Mother's Day, nonfiction, seniors, writer's life, writing, writing ideas, writing prompt and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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