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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Your Aging Parents

He was often frustrated with his aging parents. They were in the twilight years of life. They often forgot what he had said. They were taking more of his time. Quite frankly, it was depressing to be around them too much. They couldn't do things for him like they used to do. He had the responsibilities of his job and family. Both he and his wife had busy schedules. They needed more time together, yet his parents were requiring more of his time. He had two children in college who needed him as well. The stress of everyone who needed something from him was getting heavier on his mind. Sometimes, it was difficult to be patient with his aging parents. After all, he needed time for himself as well.

Time Demands

The time demands on us can be very stressful. Our story considers a man who had more responsibility than ever before in his life. Aging parents can add much to the load. They needed his help at unexpected times. Responsibilities for aging parents should be shared by all the adult children in the family. When that's not possible, other helpers must be sought. Eventually, assisted living or a nursing home may be needed.

Emotional Stress

Dealing with aging parents can cause emotional stress. Recognize it and seek the help of others. Realize that eventually "anticipatory grief" becomes an issue. That's when we begin to feel the grief of anticipating the parents death. As with any other grief, it can cause a variety of emotions such as denial, anger, bitterness, and yes, guilt. Ask your heavenly Father to help you through those times. Our helper is the Holy Spirit. He is with us always. Express your emotions in prayer. Also, share your emotions with your spouse or a close friend.

Seek Help

Don't try to do everything yourself. The family members should be the primary support group. However, other help is available such as church volunteers, Meals on Wheels, paid sitters and other support agencies. Certainly, ask God for help. Prayer is petition to God according to needs for his support. His help is available. Realize your limitations. No one person can do it all.

Honor Your Parents

God is pleased with all who honor their parents. His Word is clear on the subject (Ephesians 6:2-3). While you are not under obligation to obey them as adolescent children, your respect for them is required. The changes in aging parents can be very threatening to them. They need your understanding and support. They may fear becoming too dependent, yet they need to know that you care.

The Golden Rule

With aging parents, as in all relationships, the so-called "Golden Rule" which Jesus taught is the key. "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Who knows, maybe one of these days you will be an aging parent too. How would you like to be treated? That's your answer. Dignity and respect are so important throughout life, but especially so in the twilight years.

Special thanks to Dr. Richard Treder.
Southern Baptist Theological.

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