January 1 is my annual chance for redemption. It’s an opportunity to do all the things I didn’t do the year before….or the year before that. How can it be that in 365 days, I couldn’t “find” the time to write a short story, organize my photos, or finish clearing back brush in my yard?
That’s just crazy. Especially since I did “find” time to watch all the episodes of Mad Men, Parenthood and Downton Abbey. We won’t even get into the summer and fall evenings spent on the deck sipping many a glass of wine.
In any case, there is always the opportunity for me to do better this year. The point is that I have hope. Hope that I really will get to the things I keep talking about. And I truly believe I will! Whoever we are, whatever our circumstances in life, we all need to feel hope whether it’s for trivial matters or for life-changing events.
A child hopes his parents will take him to the park, a teen hopes the boy she likes will ask her out, a young adult hopes to get the job of their dreams, a middle-aged person hopes their children are happy, a senior hopes their grandchildren will visit and an elderly person hopes that they stay healthy and independent.
As people age, their concerns shift and hope plays an even bigger part in their lives. Since their pace is slower, their world becomes smaller and they begin to feel less in control. In the case of the aging parent or grandparent their immediate needs become their primary focus. Wars, disasters, even the accomplishments of their beloved grandchild all take a backseat to getting that prescription filled or getting someone to change the ceiling light bulb.
It’s not borne out of selfishness or lack of love, but from self-preservation. Since they have to rely on others to do the tasks they once could have done blindfolded, our elderly loved ones have to wait for when family and friends’ schedules permit them to help out. So even though it may seem that your aging mother is fixated on getting the light bulb changed, the task has more far-reaching implications then just the simple action itself. Without the light, she could trip, fall and sustain a significant injury or she may try to do it herself and fall off a ladder with the same end result. Once incapacitated, it could trigger a downward spiral where her dependent state becomes permanent.
Focusing on her own needs is actually a good sign. It means your mother hasn’t given up. She has hope that each day will be good and she is doing her part to make that happen. Although her life keeps changing as she ages, your mother is rolling with the punches and hoping for the best and that’s really all any of us can do!
So yes, hope springs eternal for the young, the old and in-between. It’s what propels us forward and makes life the interesting journey it can be. So bring on 2013! We are ready to go!
For families who need some extra assistance with providing a little care to their otherwise independent parent, there are a number of Home Care programs that could possibly help out. These programs provide nursing, therapists, certified nursing assessment, light housekeeping and so much more. For more information, please call 914-739-6700. Also, for information on Bethel’s Home Care program, please call 914-941-1300.