I never knew how true that Irish saying was until I got older. Early on I learned that we were supposed to honor our fathers and mothers. It was something that would put us in good stead for life. However, with the fastest growing segment of the population being people aged 80 and older, many of us are taking a more active role in caring for our parents as they age.
My great-grandmother said to age was to be blessed with years. Unfortunately, aging does come with varying levels of disability, chronic conditions, and sickness. While these issues must be addressed medically, we must consider the emotional and mental health aspects of aging for both parents and their caregivers, who are more often than not, daughters.
For most daughters taking care of others is second nature, especially if they’re mothers. That said, you don’t have to be a mother to be caring in nature. For those of us who are either empty-nesters or winding down careers, we shift gears to assist and take care of aging parents. All of this results in juggling a number of balls at any given time to our own detriment. It’s important to remember that we are our own best resource.
We’ve got to take care of ourselves first otherwise we are of no use to anyone. It’s imperative to eat correctly, exercise, and get enough rest. We don’t want to forget our mental and emotional health. Take time to hit the reset button by talking to and socializing with friends. Pamper yourself with a trip to the salon, get a massage, or a mani-pedi. Whatever allows you to take a deep breath and feel good. You’re allowed to focus on yourself and me-time and still be a good daughter and your parents’ treasure.