Please don’t be one of those people who, somewhere between the age of 80 and 90, look at themselves and say: I never thought I would get this way. What did you think was going to happen? Why would you think you are different from everyone else? Everyone alive eventually gets that way. Everyone alive gets old and to some degree frail. The only difference is how they do it. They can either sit on their asses for years while their bodies and muscles deteriorate. Or they can choose to be more active and healthy so that they are in a much better situation as they age and can enjoy their late senior years instead of just putting in time, making excuses and feeling sorry for themselves.
Please don’t be one of those people who expect their children to take care of them and clean up their bodily messes for three, six, ten or more years instead of living their own lives. It is one thing to care for a person out of love. It is another do it out of guilt. Love or not, most family members are not qualified to do homecare for frail parents. Many have jobs and kids and grandkids and other responsibilities. Some are seniors themselves and don’t have the energy and shouldn’t have to spend their senior years looking after older seniors. Most family members are not qualified to deal with the mental and emotional repercussions of caring for an elderly parent 24–7. Most elderly parents don’t give family caregivers the same respect that they would professional caregivers. No parent likes to be told what to do by their children. On the flip side, very few adult children are comfortable having the tough conversations with their parent for that very reason.
Please don’t be one of those people who isn’t realistic and who doesn’t think ahead and make some sort of plan for their elder years. Who refuses to make the choices that will make things much easier. Who is inflexible and avoids making the necessary decisions by instead making poor decisions without thinking through the consequences. All of this just makes things a lot worse for everyone involved. It can break a family and destroy relationships. If you have a reasonable plan, then there will be people, family members or others, who will happily help you execute it.
Ageing is not about one person. It is about an entire population. An entire generation. It is a part of life. Let’s do our love ones a favour and take some time to think all this through and make a plan of preferred options for when we get frail instead of leaving it all up to them. As members of the baby boomer generation who are all aging and out number all other generations in Canada, let’s do ourselves a favour and work to age better so that we don’t become a burden to our families and to our healthcare system, so that we can easily enjoy this one life we have for as long as possible. Let’s do this. And please, let’s not leave it to the last minute.
Thanks for reading.