“How old are you on the inside?”
If you are around 50, I’ll bet you feel like a person in their 30s. My mom is 78, but she really feels like she’s 60. Ask around, and I’ll bet you’ll find that most people feel 15-20 years younger than they actually are. No matter what our bodies tell other people, we are not as old as we seem, we are as old as we feel.
What does it mean when we feel younger than others see us? I think that inside we perceive ourselves to be mentally quicker, physically fitter, and generally more vibrant than our advancing age suggests. Essentially, we view ourselves as more than others say that we are.
This can get in the way, especially when our parent’s age, and believe they can do more than we think they can. Dad feels like he still drives amazingly well, even when our experience suggests otherwise. In her Atlantic article, “What Aging Parents Want From their kids”, Claire Berman says that “as parents get older, attempts to hold on to our independence can be at odds with even the most well-intentioned “suggestions” from our children. We want to be cared about, but fear being cared for. Hence the push and pull when a well-meaning offspring steps onto our turf.”* Indeed, ‘who do you say that I am’ is often at odds with who I believe myself to be.
Jesus understands this identity crisis. In Matthew 16: 13-20, Jesus first asks his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” His disciples answer that people see him, not as the Messiah, but as a prophet. They see him as less than he truly is. Then Jesus asks those closest to him, “Who do you say that I am?” And those who know him best give him the answer he is yearning for. “You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God”. They see Jesus as he truly is, not how others perceive him to be.
If you are reading this blog, you most likely are looking for resources to help your aging loved one. We want to see our parents for who they truly are, and it is hard to remember that who we see is rarely who they know themselves to be. At AKOTA Home Care we often encounter daughters that know their parent needs some help in the home, but their parent thinks they are doing just fine. As our roles change from offspring, to caregiver, we can often find ourselves at odds with our parent. Your mom or dad is more than a patient to you. And they are more than an aging parent to themselves. In turn, with all your responsibilities, you more than a daughter, and definitely more than a caregiver. Just like Jesus, we are more than the perceptions of others, and more than the roles life has given us to play.
One of the pillars of our company is to give our clients hope by letting daughters be daughters again. We take care of the nitty gritty, so you can see your parent as they truly are for you and your family. Having a caregiver in the home restores relationships by providing an extra pair of hands to help your parent be as independent as possible, an extra pair of ears, to hear their needs, and an extra set of eyes to help all of you see where faith, hope and love can be maximized for the best possible life.
A life in their own home.
So what do our parent’s want? Claire Berman says that mom and dad want both autonomy and connection in relations with their kids. They hope that their children will be available when they need them, but resist the overprotectiveness that may come with that connection. Hiring someone to help, even if you get initial resistance, may give your family the hope you need to achieve this balance. Give us a call today, so we can help you re-establish the relationship you both desire.
*”What Aging Parents Want From Their Kids” really is a fantastic article. If you would like to read it, please click on this link: