It seems that at no point in life do we become totally worry free. Though I try valiantly to avoid worrying about things that I can’t control, and I realize that most of what we worry about never comes to pass, still it finds its way in at times.
I read once that Michael J. Fox takes this approach about worry: He chooses not to worry about things because then if the worst comes to pass, he has to live through it twice. Seems like a great way to treat worry!
And while we may think that if we could just get past the working years, get the kids out of the house, and settle into retirement, we will have little to worry about, it would appear that this is not the case.
Seniors have lots on their minds!
The top 6 things that seniors worry about are:
1. Running out of money. With people living longer and with more chronic health conditions this can be a real concern! None of us wishes to outlive our money. And with the ever increasing costs of healthcare, the fear may be justified.
2. Having no purpose in life. After what may have been years of a career, not having that piece of your life, can feel like a big, gaping hole. This sometimes leads to depression and feelings of uselessness.
3. Loneliness. As social circles shrink and the ability to get out and about becomes increasingly difficult and fatiguing, loneliness can be a real issue. Finding new ways to stay engaged can be a great challenge for an elderly person.
4. Elder abuse and neglect. You may have the best intentions in caring for your parents, but with so many stories about folks being the target of neglect, abuse and scams, it’s no wonder that this is a concern for many! Hearing tales from friends, about how their kids ‘treated’ them, can cause this worry to become disproportionate to their actual experiences.
5. Burdening someone else with chronic illness. Again, living longer, and in more compromised medical condition, is a reality for many. The burden, even if you don’t consider it one, often does fall to family because that is what families do for each other. So, not necessarily an unwarranted worry……
6. Moving out of the family home. This can be the biggest transition that we face; giving up our home can feel to some, like simply giving up. The loss can feel overwhelming at a time when loss may be huge in our life.
When you consider all that they have on their minds, is it any wonder that we encounter resistance and reluctance from our aging parents? Few are fully ‘ready’. Change is difficult even in the best of times, but I think we all recognize that as we age, change becomes ever more difficult. We all get set in our ways. We like things the way we like them. We do things the way we do because we have always done them that way and it works for us.
So, as you try to assist your parents in easing through the transitions, keep these things in mind. It might allow you to be just a little less frustrated and a little more compassionate and understanding.
On the journey with you…….Kathy
Send me a message! I would love to hear from you!
Kathy Eynon is an Eldercare Coach and Consultant who works with those struggling to cope with the demands of caring for an aging parent. She can be reached by email at: Kathy@ParentCareAlliance.com.