Wednesday, November 5, 2008

When Parents Are Stronger Than We Expect

Little Lloyd - Dad as a child

My brother and I had an interesting conversation about Dad yesterday. He and I were discussing Dad's health and he asked me how much longer I thought Dad would last. A very astute question considering Dad is 86-years-old.

I said, "Well, I'm not sure he is going to last through this winter."

Bro laughed and said, "You said that last winter."

"I believe I also said that the winter before," I replied.

Dad is like the energizer bunny that just keeps going even when the batteries are getting weaker. Dad told me two years ago he wanted to live to be 86. At the time I realized that was how old his father was when he died.

I'm all for longevity, and as Dad's caregiver, I am here for the duration no matter how long that may be. His sister just turned 91, so longevity is in the family line. Unfortunately, Dad has more health-related issues than she does, but he also has a strong will to live.

In my unprofessional opinion, having a strong will to live plays a part in longevity. Over the last few years since Mom died (2004), Dad has often said he wants to join her. But there is a possibility that his inner will or strength may override his emotions.

One of the things I do as his caregiver is keep him "thinking forward" to upcoming events. Almost daily I remind him of something coming up that week or month, or I suggest things that we can do that he might enjoy. Since I began making a concerted effort to employ that care giving trick-of-the-trade, I have noticed he is less depressed and tends not to mention joining Mom as much as he did in the past.

What do you think? What is your experience with an elderly parent, and what part did their will play in their life?

No comments: