The Dance of Help and Independence

“The oldest trees often bear the sweetest fruit.” – German Proverb

At 90, she can still beat me in Scrabble.  She’s taught three generations of first graders, volunteered at the local hospital, helped at the church and served on the library planning committee.  She quilts, gardens, completes the daily crossword, and has read more books then I’ll ever read.  She does her own laundry and cooking, and is happy in her home. A year ago, she decided it was time to stop driving—the first step in relinquishing independence.  Now, she is in a position of needing a little more help.  Actually, she could use more help than she would like to admit.  Her family finds themselves in the unenviable position of trying to convince her to accept some assistance.   She likes her independence and solitude and hasn’t been very open to their suggestions.  Being from the generation that worries what other people think, she doesn’t want anyone making any judgments about her capabilities. 

Many families are faced with the same situation.  Worried about their elderly parents’ ability to drive a car or care for themselves, they struggle with how to take on this new role of caretaker.  Some people charge ahead, others sit back and acquiesce to their parents’ entrenchment while worrying and hoping that they will be okay. 

I believe that the number one thing a caretaker needs to remember is that everyone needs to be recognized for the things they have done and validated for the things that they are still able to do.  Any discussion of assistance should be prefaced with recognition of ones accomplishments and competencies.  Young or old we all want to be witnessed for our strength and abilities.  

Watch the following video for a new perspective on validation.

This week:  Validate someone you love!

Peace and Blessings,

Mary Jo

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