The Help Aging Parent’s Want
You hear a lot about how adult children are wanting (or having) to help out their aging parents. You don’t really hear much about the help that those aging parents really want.
I’m a pretty typical early baby boomer. My daughter-in-law thinks I’m old at 64. My aunt thinks I’m young! I find that my reactions generally parallel those in my generation.
Because certain folks in our extended family are now helping parents out, both financially and otherwise, I started thinking through what kind of help I might be willing to accept from my children and their spouses.
Help I DON’T want.
But first, what I don’t want. I don’t want to have to rely financially on my descendants. That is just backwards. Luckily, it looks like we won’t ever need help in this area. I don’t want them to have to care for me physically (wash me, feed me, change me and etc). I’d rather have a trusted stranger do this. I don’t want ‘help’ moving away from the place and things I love and to which I am accustomed. I like many, want to live in my own home – where ever that may be.
We want help being heard.
Sometimes older people aren’t really heard. Folks just don’t listen. I would really want my children (and grandchildren) especially to make a real effort to communicate with me. Huffington post in 8 Things Your Aging Parents Want You To Know, indicated that one of the things people do as they age is to start to clean their emotional houses, in preparation for death. When that happens, I want to make sure someone is listening! They say:
“There comes a point where they feel intimate enough with us as adults that they can share unknown truths about their emotional lives.”
We want help gaining the respect of our descendants.
Although generally as we age we don’t care as much what other people think of us, for me this doesn’t include my own children, grand children or great-grandchildren. I want them to remember me in a positive light and admire at least a few of the things I did with my life!
We want help keeping up with the world’s changes.
I can’t imagine the changes coming in the next 20 years, but I know that I am already falling out of sync with technology changes and changes in the way folks interact. I don’t want to end up as one of those old codgers who doesn’t understand things about the current world. But I know I may need some help as I struggle through ongoing learning curves with an aging brain.
We want help keeping the family together.
I am the current matriarch of our little family and one of the women who pull together extended family. Someday, the torch will pass – I hope. I want someone in the next generations to gather the family and keep them talking and interacting in my place.
We want help staying connected and feeling useful.
After being retired for several years and doing most of my work and hobby work from home, I realize how easy it is to become disconnected from people. Connecting online just isn’t quite as satisfying. I may need help finding ways to get places to do things with people.
In Tips to Help Beat Your Aging Parent’s Loneliness Forbes offers some nice suggestions.
I definitely want help in finding travel companions and would love to travel with my descendants and extended family members! I might even pay their way!
I’d love to feel useful to my descendants as well as to the community through volunteer or paid work and might need pointers in what would be those useful things to do or say.
We want help to pass along the family history and legacy.
As we’ve aged, we have reflected on our life and on the history and legacy passed to us by prior generations. We want to make sure to pass that along to our descendants and implore them to continue the story on into the future.
We want help staying independent.
In our best interest and in the best interests of our children and grandchildren – staying independent ranks high on my list of things I want help with. Web MD offers some suggestions for adult children on How to Help Without Going Broke.
Help me find in home care when I need it. Help me get transportation to get where I need or want to go. Help me modify my home so I can stay in it. Help me locate handymen and house cleaners and etc so I can continue to keep up my home.
What help will you want from your children when you are ‘elderly’?