Olympic Area Agency on Aging

Senior Information & Assistance

"... and then Dad became ill, so we moved him here so he can be near us, and we've just been busy, busy, busy, getting all the stuff he needs put together."

"... after all, it's really for his own good, so we decided..."

"... he wants to do stuff himself, but what he really needs is..

"... everything's working good now, right, Dad? ... and we're all going to..."

And so Dad's new life is marked out, and everyone's really pleased ... but did anyone really take the time to check with Dad? Family's great - Dad loves his kids and always enjoyed having them come for a visit. And family gatherings were sometimes tiring, but he wouldn't have had it any other way, but...

We've spent the last few columns discussing statistics (Pacific County being number one in ways we usually don't celebrate - in 65-plus population living in poverty, etc.) and talking about programs. It may be time once again to remind all of us that all these dynamics affect (and sometimes afflict) individuals.

In the rush to make sure Dad's okay, take some time to try and grasp what he's experiencing - which may be a whole lot different than what he's saying. Dad's circle of friends is gone. His social environment (the corner market, the coffee shop, clinic) is completely different. Even his casual contacts like the mailman or the phone guy have changed.

He may still have his favorite chair, but the view from the window is just not what he's accustomed to. Did it seem like Dad was just "rattlin' around" in the old house? Maybe his "rattlin'" around was revisiting old rooms and memories. Family does have a way of imprinting a place. And I'm sure he didn't raise much fuss over the idea of moving closer to family - Dad's not dumb. He knows he's needing more help to get through each day, but ...

Bottom line? Even though at some level, Dad knows the move is the best thing to do, it is still a massive lifestyle change - and although we all react to changes differently, we do all react. Even a new beginning infers an old ending.

So what's this short column about? Dad - his feelings, his changes, his life. Having family care and support is, unfortunately, not as common as it once was, and Dad is blessed indeed.

But, dear family, remember to take the time to listen; to create an opportunity for Dad to express how he feels, what and who he misses; and maybe even some apprehensions. (Though Dad may be hesitant to express any doubts - I mean, he is still Dad!)

There's lots of talk about adult children becoming parents to their parents, but you know what? You may fill some of those areas, but your parents are always your parents. Basically, we're talking again about dignity and respect. Let's not lose either.

Senior Information & Assistance

Ilwaco: 642-3634/(888) 571-6558

Raymond: 942-2177/(888) 571-6557

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