LOVING AN AGING PARENT

“The climb gets steeper and more challenging as you approach the summit.” That truth applies not just to mountain climbing but also to the uphill battle of the later years of life. 

Some of our aging loved ones suffer the tragedy of dementia which can last for many years. Others face physical infirmities of one sort or another. Very few progress through their 80’s and 90’s with great physical and mental health. (#goals)

Big question: How do you meaningfully love and encourage an elderly parent? Sometimes even more challenging…an aging in-law? 

Recently, my dear friend, Lisa Steiner, shared an absolutely beautiful tribute she had written to her father-in-law for his 89th birthday. Back surgery amidst COVID left him confined to a wheel chair. That limitation necessitated a move into an assisted living facility, and living apart from his wife of 65 years in their family home.

Imagine how discouraging that type of infirmity and adjustment must be. So many seniors with similar struggles undoubtedly feel they have minimal worth when they can no longer “contribute” to society. 

Imagine how life-giving it would be to receive loving affirmation during that dry season not just from your own child, but also from your daughter-in-law or son-in-law!

Lisa’s poem beautifully acknowledges the faithful, encouraging father he had been to her husband, Scott. She found a perfect way to affirm a man who had shown his love to his son by always showing up. Even more significantly, she recognized and honored the legacy and generational impact her father-in-law had created by his example of faithfulness.

FROM THE SIDELINES

Everyone needs a cheerleader…from the sidelines.

You took your seat being present at every game…from the sidelines.

He knew you believed in him…from the sidelines.

You may have given him some constructive criticism after a game, but he knew deep-down you desired him to grow and get better…from the sidelines.

Thank you for the legacy you imparted to Scott that we all need a cheerleader believing in us that “WE CAN”…from the sidelines.

And now, Scott is the best champion of me, Hannah and all who know him.  You modeled that…from the sidelines.

And now life looks different than you had planned, but you are showing us all what being a warrior looks like…from the sidelines.

On your birthday, Pops, I honor and thank you for loving my guy well, for showing up, and cheering him on his entire life…

From the sidelines

Love you Lisa…February 27, 2022

I hope you’ll be inspired by her words. And if you are fortunate enough to still have parents or in-laws on this earth, please tell them why they mean so much to you. Affirm the positive impact they have made with their lives. 

Are there any perfect parents or perfect in-laws? Absolutely not. And as the years pass and some aging parents lose their "filter," it is easy to become frustrated and even resentful. This season will not last forever. Choose to focus on their positive qualities. Affirm them. If nothing else, they brought you or your spouse into this world, and that is a reason for gratitude! I guarantee you, there are many more qualities worth affirming. Mine for the jewels and eulogize the living!

It’s a rare elder who wants more “stuff.” But to know that their life has made a difference? That is PURE GOLD.

"Honor your father and mother - which is the first commandment with a promise."

Ephesians 6:2

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