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Many of my friends and I have aging parents. It’s hard to watch because it reminds us that as they are aging, so are we. This brings on a whole new set of problems: how do children take care of those who once took care of us? Is there ever a point that the parent will give up the right to be “the boss”?

Caring for parents who live far away is hardest. There are millions of us who live someplace other than next door to our parents and keeping tabs on parents’ health issues is particularly hard. I always wonder if the doctor’s report I hear from my parents is really what the doctor said or if its what they wanted to hear or if they are hiding the truth so I won’t worry. Do they realize that I worry about them anyway?

I’ve not been told about many medical procedures that occurred to my parents. They called me the day before my dad was scheduled to have a cancerous kidney removed to tell me what was going on. They didn’t want to worry me. It didn’t work. Not only was I worried, I was also mad! That was my dad and I love him. To not tell me what’s happening to him is hurtful. I can handle it and moreover, I can say prayers for him. The same philosophy applied when my mom had surgery for breast cancer.

There’s no way I’m going to change them at this point. I can only do what I can do for my parents. A lot of it is trying to talk them into seeing doctors when they need to and doing what the doctors and nurses tell them to do. A lot of times, my pleas fall on deaf ears. Or at least hard-of-hearing ears. My best course of action is to decide that I am not going to be that way as I age. I will be better. I will be easier on my kids. I will listen to my children’s advice, cooperate with them, and keep them in the loop. Of course, that’s what my parents said when they were dealing with their parents… It’s all part of the circle of life.

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