In two days, it will be the seven month anniversary of the launch of my blog, and it’s been a remarkable seven months. I have gained a lot of knowledge about the topic of aging parents and I continue to learn how to share what I know through writing, listening and research.
I’m definitely a new kid on the blogging block though, so imagine my surprise this week when a fellow blogger, Pete Springer, nominated me for The Liebster Award. What? An award?
I knew so little about The Liebster Award that I didn’t realize it’s actually designed for new bloggers. It’s a way for us to recognize and promote strong blogging content as well as better connect with great people like well, Pete!
Pete and I met through a “new blogger” series in the Smorgasbord Magazine blog. He’s a retired educator (31 years!) and author of They Call Me Mom: Making a Difference as an Elementary School Teacher. He’s currently working on his second book. He is active in promoting literacy in his home state of California (a cause close to my heart. If I ever win the lottery, I will be donating large sums to libraries.) He has both a great sense of humor and compassion. We have “bonded” through his own stories about his aging mother who passed at age 92. We have found we have a lot in common. Here’s a link to Pete’s site: https://petespringerauthor.wordpress.com/
It touches me that Pete has defined my blog as “important.” He’s an avid supporter. Here is Pete’s description of me in his nomination: https://petespringerauthor.wordpress.com/2019/11/23/an-important-new-blog/
The nomination includes answering a few questions posed by the person who nominated you. I have included the questions and my answers below.
And lastly, I want to personally thank Pete for graciously agreeing to be my first guest to share his own story on my own blog. I am very excited about this and will be sharing it with readers soon. I have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving week.
- What is the hardest challenge you have faced with an aging parent?
My mother constantly fighting our help. She dismisses us with “I’ve been taking care of myself for 40 years, I know what I’m doing” when clearly, she needs help. It is frustrating negotiating with her over just about everything.
- What is your best advice to someone in a similar situation with an aging loved one?
Try to see any issues from their point of view. It helps. Your instinct is to instantly take over as the responsible adult child because you want to protect them. It’s a good instinct and one you will use (taking car keys away, hiring in-home care etc.) but understand that they are grieving the independence they have always known and that’s painful for them. If a change is needed, try and provide a transition period so they can build acceptance towards it.
- Have there also been happy and memorable times with your aging loved one? Please elaborate.
There have been many! I gave her a stuffed “pet” last year as a companion and I continue to be amazed at her devotion towards him. He has his own little bed and “watches” tv with her and goes everywhere with her. To give her this unexpected level of joy brings me great joy too. And it was so simple! Or, we have a funny family story where I couldn’t find my glasses in her apt. I’m looking around everywhere for them, even asking her “where are they? I just put them down.” We ended up having to leave for lunch without them. When she started to move her own glasses up and down to read the menu, we realized she was wearing my glasses! The different prescription didn’t throw her off or my questioning their disappearance. She saw them and wore them. Simple as that. The whole family was there and we laughed and laughed about it. She joined right in.
- Do you have any suggestions for people who are still working full time and need to offer their loved one support?
That’s a tough one. Working caregivers are always “on call.” Often, they are forced to take unpaid time off and/or switch around their work schedules to assist their parent(s). It’s highly stressful doing this on an open-ended basis. Is it possible to hire a “companion” through a home care company, even once or twice a week? We had a positive experience with the selected caregiver. Or, is there an adult niece or nephew, sister or brother-in-law, neighbor or friend who lives in the area who might be able to give you a few regular hours a week? Look around your “village.” Ask for help. You will burn out if you try and do it alone.
- What has been something you discovered about yourself in this process?
How deeply I want this to work! To grow! It was just a small bud of an idea last April, but in reading 200+ articles on eldercare, I’ve grown more knowledgeable on the subject and am more committed than ever to get the word out and BE a resource for others. And better yet, have them be a resource too! I want to share everyone’s experiences forward. New ideas are key.
- What do you most enjoy about blogging?
First, I get to write! I love writing. And I’m all about communication. It was my major in college. Blogging gives you the tool to reach out and communicate with people, literally around the world. How cool is that? Ideas can be exchanged, friendships can form. It’s an awesome platform.