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Understanding Deepens Patience When Caring For The Young And The Aging

caring for aging parents deepens understanding

Humans go through 4 stages of life: birth, aging, sickness and death.

Most Americans rarely think about those four stages of life. I mean, we arrive on the planet mostly eager to absorb everything we can. Then we start sensing and exerting our power and see how far we can go with it. We then experience independence and off we go into the world of late teen and early adulthood. By then we are off deeply engaged in discovering and creating whatever idea we have of what a successful life looks like. More often than not, the vision of a successful life includes more offspring.

Caring for Aging Parents or Children & Understanding

At the birth of a child, I doubt there is a parent anywhere that doesn’t want to give their children a quality of life equal to or better than their parents provided them. It’s natural to have that desire even if you can’t fulfill it. Many parents read every book they can get their hands on about raising children. Others don’t have the time, inclination or wherewithal to study about how to raise children. They simply do what their parents did or merely determine that they’ll be different.

No matter which route you took as a parent, I’m sure you did the best you could. Every parent does the best they are capable of doing to provide for their children. If you are a parent, you know how true that is even if you think you fall short. That’s a pretty natural feeling among parents too.

So Many Questions

Remember when your children were toddlers, just learning to talk and question? Do you remember how they asked the same question over and over and over again? Typically, the question most often asked by young children is “why”? Why is the sky blue? Why don’t we put the cat in the goldfish bowl? Why is the grass green? Why, why, why? Maybe you considered every question and gave your children real, solid answers. If you did, I bet you learned a few things along the way, too.

When children ask why, they are simply attempting to understand the world that seems to be constantly expanding around them. Asking and getting real answers to why things are so gives children a sense of safety and gives them permission to explore further. If parents don’t understand the basic reason for the questions, they may lose patience and stop answering their child’s questions. This can lead to fear and insecurity later in life.

Dementia Patients Need Safety Reassurance

Understanding the repetitive questioning when caring for an aging parent is a completely different experience for adult children. When parents enter into the phase of illness, which can include dementia and Alzheimer’s, they too begin to repeat things over and over. They may ask the same questions too. They also need reassurance that the world they now inhabit is safe and will not continue to expand. Understanding the motivation behind the constant questioning of aging parents with dementia can help adult children caregivers be as patient with them as they were when the adult children were young and needed the understanding of their parents.