“We are afraid of endings… We are afraid of seeing our parents grow smaller… We are scared so we deny it.”
Amy O’Rourke has been working with the elderly for most of her life. While she mentions how much she loves her job, she shares many instances of her experience with elderly patients and their families.
Amy describes three different ways to lower stress while dealing with the elderly population. The major reason for stress is due to the denial of reality. For family members, it can be very difficult to accept when your loved ones fall sick or are diagnosed with a certain condition. This is also because knowingly or unknowingly we are obsessed with the idea of being young and healthy all through our life.
“I wish someone had told me that I would have all these decisions to make and none of those decisions would affect the outcome… And that the most important for me is to be there”
As our parents age, there is a role reversal that happens where we start to play the role of their parent. We end up being assertive and firm with them, which hurts them to a great extent. Although we become responsible for their safety and wellbeing, we should not suggest to them what to do and how to do stuff, as they may feel insulted. Another important thing that Amy mentions is, aging is a one-way transition and no elderly can go backward.
“Being with an older person is really an opportunity to slow down… I like to think about it as a form of meditation”
Living in a fast-paced society, we tend to do everything in a rush. However, when caregiving hits us unannounced, we tend to slow down in life and that brings a change of lifestyle in our lives. When we have elderly loved ones staying with us, our days can never go fast, we have to slow down and walk with them. Caregiving is truly a rare opportunity that comes in life, where one can be there for their loved ones, comfort them and make them feel alive.
Sharing your story helps understand yourself — feelings, passions, hopes. It lightens the load and offers relief from loneliness, anxiety, anger or guilt. Our experiences and hopes can benefit others – to know that the challenges are the same, learn new ways to cope and care… they aren’t alone but part of a team.
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Source: TEDx Talks
This You Tube video has been curated by Caregiver Saathi. All Rights are Reserved with the original publisher and creators.