When you reach middle age you have already spent your productive years looking after your children. Then they become independent and leave home to go away to study. You are an empty nester. You feel lonely and your house is empty, but you start to rediscover yourself and tell yourself I am ready to explore what life has in store for me.
Suddenly, the responsibility of aging parents falls on you. And this responsibility is not short lived. It is yours for some years. You are taken by surprise yand ou are not prepared. It has its own dimensions. The old are cranky, stubborn and full of idiosyncrasies. Not willing and capable of adjusting
You, yourself are older have less patience, have your own small issues. You feel shortchanged, just as you were ready for a free life you have this on your shoulders. Sometimes there is resentment, you resist taking the responsibility but your conscience doesn’t permit it. An angst develops in you. Sometimes, you are angry.
It is not as though one is not sensitive to the fact that old age is not kind. Senses fail old people, they are not able to hear, eyesight becomes weak, physically, the body grows tired.
For children, compassion fatigue sets in. You are duty bound. But, life is not so simple. You are tired of fire- fighting every day. Support is so very important if the whole family has to survive this.
I am in that situation and am struggling to find a solution to manage this change in my life. I look at some options though not fool-proof. Like placing the person away from you but keep help so he she is well taken care of. Keep visiting and spending time so there is no feeling of abandonment. All this of course requires deep pockets.
And also a feeling of letting the old person down. So it is a struggle either ways. Maybe accepting the whole situation will bring about the balance I needed for my mind. Am I the only one feeling dysfunctional or are there others feeling the same?
- The reader is based in Dubai