When parents grow old

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.

when parents grow old

Pic courtesy: quotes.land

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?

24 Thoughts on “When our parents grow old #ItsMyTurn

  1. It’s scary to think that our parents are getting olf. More than that it’s scary to see them beinh sick at times. It’s a nightmare. I lived through some horrible times in 2014 seeing both my parents sick and in the hospital. It breaks you and I don’t have the word for it but it’s horrible, that feeling. I don’t ever want to feel it again but then..hmm

    • I know. That was such a harrowing time for you. As they get older, we worry more. I guess we must make a constant effort to keep doing things for them and also to safeguard their health.

  2. Great inspiring post it was. Feeling sad that our parents are getting old.

  3. Staying long distances is even painful…there is this guilt that never goes away that you abandoned your parents. Not that we really abandon them, but the feeling is like that. I should thank god more times than I do for having my mom here 🙂

  4. Oh, it’s tough to see your parents getting old. Since last two week, both mom and dad are ill and it’s heart breaking to see them so frail and weak. We stay in the same city and do talk every day and meet every now and then, but still I wish I could do that more often. Care Freedom Plan looks interesting… thanks for sharing about it!

    • Oh, I hope they are feeling better, Shilpa. You are so lucky that you stay in the same city. At least you must be meeting over festivals and other holidays.

  5. Yes, it’s scary and one feels utterly helpless. I lost my dad when he was just entering old age and so, for the others who are left – my mom and my in-laws, I feel scared even more..

    • Sad to hear that, Ash. I lost my mum too when she was still quite young. Sometimes, the best of medical care is also not enough but at least we tried our best. Imagine the regret if she did not get good medical care.

  6. I think what really irritates the senior people is being given constant sermons about their health and restricting the little pleasures in life at that age…. So I think we must think from their perspective and try to strike a balance…. 🙂

    • You are right, Jaish. Sermons are bugging at every age. But when your parents stay away, you do end up worrying about their health especially if they don’t take care of their health.

  7. Shailaja on March 17, 2016 at 8:10 am said:

    I know what you mean when they feel they should exhibit independence even when they need help. It’s frustrating to watch. But a good insurance plan can certainly help and it does when we can’t be there personally for them.

  8. We can never do enough! The feeling of inadequacy always remains though there is never any complaint from their side! I’m glad that I will be taking a month off this summer to visit them! In the meantime, phone calls and Whatsapp are the way to go!

    • You have nailed it. I even feel guilt for not spending enough time with mum before she passed away though her death was untimely and I had been recently married and away in the US. Somehow, with parents one always lives with inadequacy and some form of guilt for not being around them enough. I am happy that you will be spending a month with your parents. Does that mean that you will be in Cal? Any South plans?

  9. A heart-warming post indeed. Really what they ask from us is small surprises from us that reaffirms them that we care. Everything is well with the campaign except its title. I really don’t get it, “It’s my turn.” Isn’t it about clearing one’s debt? Could we really pay off what they did for us? What’s the price for bringing us into the world?

    Nothing. It isn’t about turn but love. We should love them because they are our parents and we are loving creature by nature, not because of some sense of duty or turn.

    • Thanks, Ravish. I think it is not about clearing any debt. At least I understood that It’s My Turn just implies that it is my turn to take care of you, to cherish you and to remember to do things for you. I guess it is just a reminder for all of us. You are right of course that there is no taking turns in loving or taking care.

  10. Beautiful post Rachna! I’ve always felt that I don’t ‘do enough’ for my mom or mom in law. Somehow they take a back seat due to my own family and work pressures. I lost my dad last year. I wish I had more time with him. Your post reinforced the ‘reminder to self.’ Thank you!

  11. Yeah this is actually kind of horrifying. My parents are both retired now, but you’re right – no one is getting any younger. All I have really found to do is to make sure my parents both know that I love them, and to be there when they need help.

    Susila Raman recently posted…Simple Brain Exercises that Help Boost Your Child’s IQ

  12. SistuhMoon on April 3, 2016 at 9:09 am said:

    Great post Rachna! As a BabyBoomer I can definitely relate to the feelings of both you AND your parents.

    Motivated me to launch a new blog, AgingOrganic.com. Come visit when you have a moment! Cheers.

Do not leave without commenting. I love a good conversation :).

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