The older we get, the more ups and downs we experience. A lot of us caregivers are getting “older” and we, like our older loved ones, experience the ups and downs of life — all the time! When we were younger, our days were mostly good ones — we felt good, we could do a lot and we generally enjoyed life. I experience this a lot, but my parents are seeing it daily!
It takes a lot of faith to get through some days. We have to “believe” tomorrow will be better. Since my dad lost his bladder 16 years ago, he’s had a lot of ups and downs. He calls every morning and mostly he says, “Angel, I’m okay.” But some days he says, “I had a hard night” or “I don’t feel good today.”
My mother is also had her ups and downs lately. She unknowingly suffered from a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) for months before finally agreeing to go to the doctor. It’s so hard to see my parents in pain. Even with the infection, one day my mama would be outside moving firewood and the next day she’d be in bed. You know the type. She was raised on “work solves all your problems” and “If you can work — you’re all right.” Not so much, mama!
It’s hard “educating” your parents, but somebody’s got to do it!
My parents need to know I’m listening to their concerns and I do. Sympathy is needed always but so is encouragement. It’s the same for all of us. Sometimes we all, myself included, get a little negative. For me, a good stiff walk or some good music can change my attitude. Well, most of the time. A little glass of wine doesn’t hurt either.
Sometimes we just need to see someone having it a little worse than we are. Boy, that sounds really bad, but what I mean is some days are a “Gone with the Wind” day or “It’s a Wonderful Life Day.” We just need to see someone else struggle and overcome before we think we can do it too. What better way than to sit down with a bowl of popcorn and one of our favorite movies?
Chase Away the Gloom
It also helps to get some sun. I know that sounds simple but the daylight hours are getting shorter and less sun can mean more gloom. Get your face in a sunny window, or if it’s good weather — get out there and bask in that glow. If you see your older loved one a little more down, get them to a sunny window or outside on the porch. We all have to watch out for the gloom and doom of winter and take care of each other.
Sometimes we have to be the cheerleader and other times — well, we need one ourselves! Know who your cheerleaders are and have their numbers on speed dial. It’s important to know when we need a pep talk, and it’s just as important that we see when our elders need one too! And while you got them on the phone, have them come over for a movie night.