Do It Now!
I’m writing this letter to give you permission to make tough decisions for Bob and I, if and when the time comes. Defining the time will be difficult as we may not agree that we do need help and so we might not want to hear from you. Preserve; keep us safe.
You see, when we think about ourselves we don’t see “old.” We see ourselves vital and thriving. The only time we feel old is when we look in the mirror or find ourselves exhausted doing something that used to be easy.
As we watched you grow and choose your life-partners we felt so proud of you. Now as you raise your children we see you being loving, supportive and strong, as you give your children tools to become independent, contributing citizens. We found it much easier making decisions for you, our children, than for our aging parents! Sorry!!!!
ALWAYS remember we love and respect you and would move the world to make you happy. That is our unconditional love. Try to keep this front and centre if we say something nasty or ask for something that you simply can’t or don’t have time to do.
Over the next years, if we are blessed enough to age as our parents did, our relationship will change. Parenting a parent is not easy. The relationship is complicated.
Our experience, with aging parents, was difficult. Bob’s parents were challenging and although my parents had a plan and made their wishes known, it was no walk in the park either.
Physically, emotionally and even financially they were challenging. We want your journey easier and give you permission to keep your marriages and children and maybe even grandchildren (fingers crossed!) front and centre.
We had our time of spending winters in Palm Springs, holidaying when we wanted, and driving to events when we were so inclined. Now we expect you to carry on and enjoy yourselves. Never put anything on hold. We give you permission to step in and make some unpopular decisions as our decision-making powers may be compromised. While we are still in our right mind, or so we think, please understand this is what we want!
We have tried to make the road a little easier by down-sizing early, telling you we don’t want to live with you, even if we may say we do, and even picking out our final ‘resting place.’ Our wills are written, we have filled out personal directives and our power of attorney. You have copies. These forms may change and we plan to keep them updated. You may want to remind us occasionally.
As you know, we think that assisted living and later continuous care are the correct routes. We don’t want an expensive place with lots of bells and whistles. It must be clean and have a qualified, caring staff. You will get a sense of the place as soon as you walk in for tour.
We will try to pick out one just as my parents did. It certainly made it easier when dad said “This is a horrible place – all I look at are the garbage containers,” we could think “ you did choose it.”
I still felt sad when I said good-bye after each visit, yet I was relieved because it was what they had wanted. It was also important to me that they were safe, had regular meals and got their medication. We want you to have that same reassurance.
I hope you are able to work together as a team with your partners, in the background, as your support. My brother and I made all the decisions, without our partners in attendance, to keep things less complicated and smoother. Sometimes in-laws can complicate decisions. It’s one tip that really helped us.
Just remember that we love you all more than words can ever express. Keep us safe and carry on with your own lives. Age has a way of creeping up much faster than you will anticipate!