It is very difficult to watch your parents grow old. Those strong hands that held your fingers and taught you how to walk. Those strong shoulders on which you bounced again and again gurgling with laughter. Those bright eyes that lit up when you went to them animated, regaling a tale or announcing a victory. Those warm arms that never hesitated to hug you having the strength to take the worst of your pain away. Now watching them get frail and weak, defiant to stay independent but losing strength to do so is heartbreaking. Such is the circle of life. And then the persistent anxiety about their wellbeing. Are they doing enough to stay healthy? Oh why can’t they come and live closer to us?
Slowly but steadily, you find yourself slipping into the role of a parent. This time to your own parent. Painful and bittersweet as you come to terms with the fact that you need to be patient, loving and sometimes impose upon them things that are for their own good as they become stubborn and headstrong.
Do you worry about your parents? Feel guilty that you don’t call them often enough or don’t visit as much as you’d like? I do. Life and raising your own family somewhere puts them on the backburner. They are around, within reach; you revel in that comfort. Oh, I will call tomorrow! Let me find out if they got that health check done? Feeling upset at how stubborn they are when they repeatedly do not listen to your instructions. Reminding you a little bit of your own childhood when you refused to listen.
One thing I find them often missing out on is taking their health seriously. They will not consult the doctor often enough sometimes not telling us so that we don’t worry. Forgetting to take their medicine, so on and so forth. Just spoke this morning to my father. He is such a pillar of strength for me and yet in a strange way I feel so protective of him.
When I came across #ItsMyTurn campaign and read some beautiful stories on their website, I felt a lump in my throat. There are some lovely messages and memories shared about parents. In a way, reminding all of us to do that simple act of picking up the phone to hear their voice or to send them a thoughtful note or even egg us on to plan a surprise visit.
Recently, my husband did just that for my mother-in-law. I could hear the joy in her voice when she spoke to me. A small act went so far in making her feel special and loved. How beautiful is that! What more do they want from us? Just that!
Continuing with the same thought, Religare Health Insurance celebrates parents in a month-long campaign that helps each one of us pause and think about our parents and plan better for their emotional and physical wellbeing. One way we can help them cope is by ensuring that their health is insured. Diseases are a big worry as they age and so is the exorbitant cost of healthcare. Their Care Freedom Plan especially caters to our parents. It does not require any pre-policy medical checkup, has a shorter waiting period of 2 years to cover pre-existing diseases and no upper age limit for enrolment thus providing a flexible and useful health cover for our parents.
Are you living away from your parents? Do you miss them? Do share how you would reach out to them today?