This is about embracing the change of a loved one as they embark into a new journey.
While we all try to bring our families closer we rarely talk about the transition or letting go nearly as much. Boomers are living this transition phase caring for their aging parents and/or preparing for the launch of their university bound child. Is their similarity in both?
One friend is currently faced with moving his Dad from home into a facility and another has a Mom living with Alzheimer’s. The relationship sometimes can be difficult for both as we reach for words to comfort a parent who might be losing their independence, needing help with personal care and many who are losing the ability to communicate with the disease of Alzheimer’s. It feels a little like having to let go of the norm to enter the unknown. Personally not faced with such challenges with my own parents yet I am however in a similar transition phase with my own daughter as she prepares for a journey to university across the country. I too am learning to let go of what was the norm and to recognize that the special foundation we create as families will keep us strong. It is likely our relationship and how we communicate that will change.
Let’s stay connected to our loved ones in a meaningful way so that they don’t feel alone. We can learn to modify our relationships to meet this change. With a parent that has Alzheimer’s we might need to accept that their memory is failing and learn new ways to communicate with touch. With a child going off to university, we might need to learn how to Skype!
The Launching Years (L. Kastner and J. Wyatt) is a resource book about the strategies for parenting in the university years and www.alzheimerbc.org provides tools to help support a loved one with Alzheimer’s.
Let’s reach out to others in our community to share these real stories so together we might feel more confident and better prepared to embrace this new phase. Let’s further develop these relationships and to keep the family close. For me, I know it won’t be easy (and yes, it’s ok to cry) but I am confident that if I continue to make decisions from the heart that we will all enjoy this phase of letting go of what was and embrace the new with open arms. I also encourage my friends with aging parents to do the same.
Originally published BC Black Press August 2011