Kathleen Hattrup wrote an insightful article today about the things that her children have learned from living with their frail, elderly grandmother:
Nothing about my mother’s daily needs is surprising or distressing to them and they will fiercely defend her if I have a moment of impatience. They know she wears diapers just like their little brother and a caregiver’s disabled son. And — and this is important — they think it entirely expected that they’ll go back to wearing diapers one day themselves.
By seeing how time affects the body from a young age they learn what to expect from life. Perhaps when they reach their teenage years they will not feel the same ‘invincibility’ that many teenagers feel and may make wiser life choices.
Very often families feel ill equipped to properly care for their parents as they reach their twilight years. So they are admitted to facilities where they can receive the care they need, but perhaps what they really need (and what we ourselves need) is to maintain that closeness with them and serve each other. What do you think?