Back in the days, irrespective of the number of family members, everyone lived together in the house. Basically, a family included at least 3 generations, if not more. There was a generation of small children, their parents along with their grandparents. Then the elderly people were considered as the roots of their family, the next generation as the branches and the younger ones as the new leaves and twigs who will take the legacy forward. The whole family complemented each other. They shared the love and cared for the other family members.
In every well and ill situations, they stuck together and fought. It seemed easier for them to take care of their old members because the legacy passed from generation to generation. But now in this era, we prefer to have a family of our own, a nuclear one. Here the disruption occurs. If our young children don’t see us taking care of our parents then how will they know when they come to the stage when we will need them to take care of us. This is a point where we need to question ourselves “how to fix this?” It’s very simple. We need to parent our parents. If we do so then the next question is how gracefully we are doing it. Parenting is not a simple term. It requires a lot of efforts and patience. Our parents had lots of both for us, and when they grow old, it is our responsibility to show the same towards them. As a proverb says “As you sow, so you reap”. Same is applicable to our case also. If we parent our old parent,s, then our children will also parent us in our old age.
I am not saying that we need to be dependent financially and emotionally on our kids. It is about having someone in your old age to understand you and take care of your emotional needs. We have to accept this unanimous truth that growing old can be really miserable. All the biological functions get deteriorated with age, different diseases set in and sickness comes very frequently. So, in old age, people need some support in terms of medical as well as moral support from their children. They need their children’s shoulder to get a support to lean on.
To have elderly people at home is always considered a blessing. That brings happiness in a family. They have immense experience which can be very helpful in taking crucial decisions. Every individual should care for their parents in their old age. We should not hesitate to do our part in return. We should start parenting our old parents. Moreover, it’s like a payback to them. Parenting means to act like a mother or father to someone. It is a rearing process by giving physical, mental and social support. We should be a little more kind, optimistic, and patient towards them. As they have raised us with patience and wholeheartedly, selflessly, it’s our duty to do for them in their needy time.
Caring for parents becomes easier if one can stay with them. Many times, it is not practical due to various constraints, but being around them and available is a huge help in many ways. When staying together we should understand them, their choices and food preferences and not force our choices on them. We should ask them how they want to lead the rest of their life. We should give our precious time just to listen to what their heart says. They always want someone to listen to them and we can be their friend whom they can speak to without any hesitation.
Many children say they have done their duty and have appointed a nurse or a servant to take care of their parents. It is good enough to have them for their service but it is also true that the servants are not the ones who can understand their feelings. They need their own child to share their feelings, they want to care and love from them. Falling sick and getting old age problems is common and at that point, we need to be calm and be with them without getting irritated. People in their old age tend to repeat the same thing as small children do and thus, like we should answer the child we need to respond to the elders too. In addition to that, we need to take care of their proper diet to make them stay healthy. Old people also need a change and entertainment, and thus, organising outings and holidays for them, can be a great idea, as this rejuvenates them.
Our small steps can make a big difference in their life. Once we accept them with our whole heart then things will get easier with our every move. A day will come when we would realize how important it is to have our parents in our life. Enjoy them before it is too late, and all you have is their memories and sorrow in your heart.
“Treat your parents with loving care, For you will only know their value, when you see their empty chair.”