Friday, January 14, 2011
Confidential: Brian & Lynn, Read This
Some subjects are so sensitive and potentially painful that we tend to shy from discussing them. For anyone approaching age 70 or beyond—or has a parent in that category—the subject of “senior freedom” can be about as welcome as finding a landmine in the rose bed.
Everyone seems to agree that higher decades of life bring changes and challenges. Not everyone is comfortable discussing the implications of decreasing physical abilities or increasing mental disabilities.
I remember that when my folks moved here years ago, they kept little “secrets” from us about their increasing challenges, secrets that we sometimes didn’t find out about for weeks or months.
“You dad fell down again in the yard today,” my mother once said at supper.
“Again?” I was shocked. “What happened?”
“Oh, it wasn’t anything,” my dad explained. “I know how to fall without getting hurt.” An excellent athlete in high-school years, he probably did “know how to fall” then—but in his 80s?
Questions abound. When is it time to surrender a senior’s prime symbol of freedom—the driver’s license? You may know someone 90 who is a sane and safe driver, but you may also know someone 73 who is a driver straight out of hell and a menace to himself or herself and everyone else on the road.
Are bills getting paid on time and prescription medicines taken on time? When is it time to get a little extra help for lawn and housework or even the daily routines of life?
What would you add to this list?
Everyone wants to be the “good guy,” not the “bad guy,” in such situations. So we sometimes think about such issues but stop short of having serious, two-way conversations about them.
The front page of the Washington Post yesterday featured a story about an older couple and their family’s grappling with such problems. The story is tragic. Could something like it happen to you—or one you love?
Ellen and I both have read the story. It’s sparked an interesting discussion about how we grapple with life in our 70s. We both thought I should post a link to the Post article.
A daughter of the couple in the Post story commented, “We didn’t realize it was time to do more. We didn’t realize it was time…. Oh, the second-guessing that is running through our minds.”
If you’re approaching 70 or are already beyond, read the story and ask your children to read it too. Take note, Brian and Lynn.
Better to think and talk now than to second-guess later.
To read the Post article, CLICK HERE.