Where there is no honour there can be no hope for a Senior. They may be grinding out what has to be done to survive but if they do not receive honour from those closest to them, they have no hope. They may be even smiling through and never complaining and you look at them and think everything is fine. Really examine how you are treating them. Are you looking at them through their aging process? Do you see the “can’ts” first? They can’t walk on their own anymore, they need a cane, walker, or wheelchair. They can’t remember anymore, they need you to repeat yourself or give them their medications. They can’t drive anymore, they need you to take them to their doctor’s appointments. You get the picture. They need you. But, did that need suddenly give you the right to treat them with any less honour or respect? Did that need change who they are? What they accomplished?
Baby Boomers have a fantastic sense of humor. They have been making jokes and actually making fun of themselves for years. You can see this in how they are aging. It’s great. One example is they find the humor in how their body parts are drooping. They email and tell jokes all the time about their experiences in the aging process. Join in with them. Not making fun, but lightening the mood when they spill something at the dinner table. There’s no need for them to be hard on themselves for such small silly things. Don’t roll your eyes and wonder what’s happened to mom and the sky must be falling. Many times we are like the story of Chicken Little where she went around telling all the other farm animals “The sky is falling, the sky is falling.” All day long she would cackle and cluck “The sky is falling.” Are we doing that when maybe dad runs into the garage with the riding lawn mower. Maybe he knocked a hole in the side of the fence when he was riding his scooter down the street. Is it really the end of the world? Is the sky really falling? Does there really need to be a big family discussion about how Dad’s loosing it? Do we need to make them feel even worse than they already do? Believe me, they are beating themselves up. They are suffering with loss – loss of abilities and competency they never had to worry about before due to their body aging and changing. Really look at their abilities to function and keep it in perspective before making any giant decision that effects their entire life.
Remember those teenage years of yours or of your children’s when their bodies were making big changes as they were growing up? Aging is reverse developmental. Your parent’s bodies are changing just like yours did when you were a teenager. Sometimes you were awkward. Sometimes you didn’t make the best decisions. When you made a mistake, you needed your parents to support you. When your child was going through their teen years, they needed your honour and respect to make it through – to be that responsible adult. So does your parent. They need you to remember who they are – who they always have been. They need to remember their victories in life. They need you to treat them the same as you did when they were lighting the world on fire and you looked up to them and were in awe. This treatment is what facilitates them to reach that great wisdom of old. We need them to reach this level. We need to learn from them.
Once you do this, your parent will have hope. Hope for a new day. Hope that not all is lost. Your parent still has something great in their future. They still have growing, teaching, and dreams to fulfill. Maybe they were told they couldn’t do something years ago and so they listened and took the safe route. Well, today is a new day. That dream can still come to life. It’s been buried long enough. It’s time to see it sprout and bust through and come alive within them. How exciting, right? The only way they can truly have the grit and energy to realize some dreams is to first have hope. And, they get that hope knowing you believe in them. Remember you as that teenager? Remember your own teenagers? They needed you to believe in them. It’s the same way with your parents. They need you to believe in them. Pour belief, honour, and hope into your parent and watch them come alive. Watch their eyes sparkle. Watch their face light up. All the way to the very end they need to hear you tell them you are proud of them, that they were a great parent and that you love them. Look past the little mistakes and aging changes and treat your Dad, your Mom with honour and you will see them take on a new grip on life. Have faith in them and you will see them rise higher, you’ll see more smiles, more twinkling eyes, and you and your family will be happier and blessed with ripe old age.