I listen to many of the programs "on Being" and the one on aging this week was quite powerful. I am the sole caregiver for my mother in assisted living with a story very similar to that of your guest. For two years previously, my parents were together in the center and I also had to be the one to take my father to all appointments and support them both through his dementia and eventually hospice care. He passed away in December of 2010. I've been left with the planning, decision making, financial, and emotional support responsibilities with two absent siblings.
The references to the family dynamics regarding aging parents and the issues of bringing up the difficult discussions are ones that I relate to. I have learned that I must bring up those topics but, I must respect the time needed and be gentle with the words in order to effectively keep my parents part of their own planning.
My mother will not say that she loves me, like your guest. My father's last words to me were still anger about my getting him the care he needed. But, I am gaining in understanding about why they can't express themselves and I know that what I do is the right thing. I know that I am the lucky one to be able to provide the care and support for them.
Please have more on the topics of aging. There are many of us who are in this role and who must be planning for our own situations in the next 20 years. We want to move through these stages with grace, humility and love.
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