A Guide to Caring for Aging Family Members

reflect the future

   AARP Photo

Photo and original text in Spanish by Guillermo Peña. 

Translation to English by Sergio Cadena

My dear girl, the day you see I’m getting old, I ask you to please be patient, but most of all, try to understand what I’m going through. If when we talk, I repeat the same thing a thousand times, don’t interrupt to say: “You said the same thing a minute ago”… Just listen, please. Try to remember the times when you were little and I would read the same story night after night until you would fall asleep.

When I don’t want to take a bath, don’t be mad and don’t embarrass me. Remember when I had to run after you making excuses and trying to get you to take a shower when you were just a girl?

When you see how ignorant I am when it comes to new technology, give me the time to learn and don’t look at me that way … remember, honey, I patiently taught you how to do many things like eating appropriately, getting dressed, combing your hair and dealing with life’s issues every day… the day you see I’m getting old, I ask you to please be patient, but most of all, try to understand what I’m going through.

If I occasionally lose track of what we’re talking about, give me the time to remember, and if I can’t, don’t be nervous, impatient or arrogant. Just know in your heart that the most important thing for me is to be with you.

And when my old, tired legs don’t let me move as quickly as before, give me your hand the same way that I offered mine to you when you first walked. When those days come, don’t feel sad… just be with me, and understand me while I get to the end of my life with love. I’ll cherish and thank you for the gift of time and joy we shared. With a big smile and the huge love I’ve always had for you, I just want to say, I love you … my darling daughter.

An additional comment:

If the young woman really “sees” she realizes that she is looking into a mirror that reflects her future.

I can identify with what the older woman is saying (especially about technology), but would like to add a thought of my own.  Maybe some of you would like to make additions, too. 

“When as your mother, I express an opinion or make a suggestion, please don’t show a lack of regard for my input. Replace the “‘I’ll do it my way” response with, ‘That’s a good idea,’ or ‘That’s an interesting thought.’ Do you remember how I listened to you and gave you support and encouragement?”

Barbara Matthews

 

 

 

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