Tender Mercies for the Elderly


"What goes around comes around," are words my grandmother, Bridget, always instilled in me. Now, that I find myself sandwiched in-between senior assistance, caregiving, eldercarecaring for my elderly mother and my children, I find these words to be especially true. They remind me, on days when I think it would be easier to not respond, or embark on the sacrifices it sometimes takes to be present for another, versus being centered solely on myself and my own "me-ness." The words help keep me centered.

When the following quote appeared in my inbox today, I was reminded again that I am on track in this thinking on the caregiving for the elderly front. I offer this to all of you, who like me, have days when you need to be reminded and supported in your efforts to care for your elderly parents.

"How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in your life you will have been all of these." George Washington Carver

These are words I plan to carry with me in the days, months and years ahead as I know each day will bring a new challenge in caring for my mom who is 82 and on her own for the first time in 55 years. Questions this quote prompts me to ask in my own particular circumstances with my mom:

What would it be like to barely be able to walk, to have doctors say it is "almost" time to be in a wheelchair?

What would it be like not to be able to hop in my car whenever I need something?

What would it be like to be losing my hearing?

What's it like to be alone in the middle of the night and need emergency medical care?

What's it like to ..... There are so many questions. They are questions that I ask myself when I step up to care for my mom. What would my life be like if it were me who could barely walk in her shoes? The questions help me be more compassionate.

What helps you? Please share your inspirations and insights here.

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---Mary Beth Sammons