Irina Mlodik: “old Age – it’s time to get paid”
Is it possible to prepare for your own old age and how to behave with elderly relatives? This is the story of a psychologist, author of books and articles on child and adult practical psychology Irina Mlodik.
What is old age?
This, if we are lucky and everything is positive, is an inevitable part of our life. After all, if we happened to grow old, then we had enough strength and desire to live, we did not die young. Meanwhile, not everyone enjoys the opportunity to grow old, for most people, old age is associated with disease, powerlessness, helplessness, poverty and dependence on the help of others. Therefore, many are replacing the idea of old age as such. Especially as old age creeps up, as a rule, steadily, but imperceptibly.
Those who remember about old age and prepare for it:
They save money in order to be financially independent in old age and not to experience serious restrictions and deprivations;
They are invested in their health, in prevention, to maintain vigor, mobility, activity and independence as long as possible;
Create and cherish a variety of relationships: with spouses, children, friends, not to be lonely in old age;
Keep and maintain interest in life, so as not to lose the actual meaning of life and involvement.
Those who deny old age don’t think about it:
Live in the present time, spending everything they earn or giving his children and grandchildren, apparently expecting that in old age they will be financially responsible for their elderly parents;
Do not pay attention to the decline in vitality, the age-related decline in opportunities and life resources, begin to hurt strongly, suddenly, with serious changes in their own way of life and the lives of their loved ones;
Easily break meaningful ties, nurturing their resentment, irritation or discontent, not thinking about the upcoming loneliness, shifting the responsibility for it to those family members who agree to devote their lives to elderly relatives;
Suddenly find yourself the inability to change something in your life, to live it differently, so basically we complain, complain, whine and criticize the young who have a lot of energy and possibilities.
Our old age is our concern
Since this is only one stage of our life, and what it will be-our responsibility, not someone else’s, and our investments, which begin in youth, continue in adulthood, and, in fact, to old age it’s time to “get on life accounts.”
Do children take responsibility for their elderly parents?
It is important for growing children not to take excessive responsibility for the quality of life of elderly parents, because the care of this quality is the responsibility of the parents themselves.
There is an opinion that if parents gave us life, we owe them something for life in return. And an irresponsible parent in return will require not something, but the very life of a grown child. It is important to realize that children are not faced with the question – to be born to them or not, the decision is made by parents and, giving life, take responsibility for ensuring that this life is provided until the children grow up. In a sense, the life given to children is a free gift.
We become parents voluntarily and preferably consciously. We give our children our strength, our feelings, our time, our participation and care so that they can grow up and give it all to their children, not so that instead of caring for their children, they begin to nurture our old age.
According to the law, we, children, from 18 years are obliged to take care of the parent, left without means of livelihood. The state can understand that its social policy does not provide for proper care for those who for some reason did not take care of themselves. And so shifts the responsibility to children. But if a child grew up with an alcoholic parent, for example, who not only did not give him warmth, support, care, but beat, humiliated and simply forgot to feed, such a drinking parent can easily lose their livelihoods because of his such lifestyle, and his child from 18 years is obliged to support him, instead of learning and building his life. In my opinion, this is irresponsible and unfair. Although the children of such parents often take care of them in the hope of still getting from their parents at least something positive: recognition, care, gratitude.
If we have been given love, attention, participation and support, we should not, but want to give it to our aging parents. Not because we are forced by law or guilt, but simply because we are truly grateful and willing to participate in the lives of our elders to the best of our ability.
What type of family would you prefer?
One of the most common, but complex schemes in relations with adult children and their parents – a merger scheme. Its peculiarity is that in the process of life were not defined and set boundaries between families. The older generation enthusiastically intervened in the Affairs of the young family, replacing the search for their own meaning with the Affairs and concerns of the young. The young family agreed to this, because the presence of grandparents, closely involved grandchildren, relieved them of most of the parental responsibilities. Such a fuzzy border between two or three generations created a feeling of common participation, in difficult circumstances allowed to survive, to cope with life’s tasks. But the blurred boundaries between families also defined the blurred division of responsibility. And it is often difficult for children in such families to understand what they should or should not do to their own elderly parents. In addition, while growing grandchildren, parents do not have time to navigate in what they do, health sat down, strength go. At the same time, elderly parents do not think themselves apart from family problems and tasks. In such a family, over time, more and more grievances, feelings of guilt, expectations and claims will accumulate between all members of the big family. The level of connection and dependence in such a family will be much higher, as well as the level of infantilism and dissatisfaction with life.
A family built on clearer boundaries will make all participants more responsible for their lives, roles, budgets, strengths, and meanings. It has less expectations of tacit mutual assistance, more direct requests and refusals, more respect for the life plans and life values of the other. In such a family, more opportunities are created to build their lives, connecting to the problems of the other then and as much as possible and required. In such families, there is much less resentment and guilt, because there is respect and willingness to help if the pigs, and not to tolerate or not to impose assistance. Less silent, more spoken.
One of the most dysfunctional models is when an immature parent gives birth to children in order to become children himself. And long before this old age gives himself to the care of his not always even to the end of grown children. Such parents regularly and on a large scale manipulate children’s guilt, debt, their diseases, their fear of losing a parent, constantly accuse, complain, shame. Children of such parents almost do not have the opportunity to build their lives. They serve all the time anyone who decides to exploit their guilt and neurotic willingness to be responsible for everything.
Each type of family will have its own difficulties and features of interaction with aging parents. You choose what your model will be.
The most common misconceptions about elderly parents
They need to be protected from stress, including physical and emotional. But any doctor will say that people, even the elderly, need regular movement, because the feasible training of anything, allows you to maintain functionality longer. Often saving their “sick heart”, we save them from life, from living, in which it is important for them to be included. Excessive keeping infantilized and invalidities.
We have to give them something back. It would be good if we wanted to, not had to. And this happens if we are really given. Children often feel guilty if they cannot love their elderly parents as they would like. But it is impossible to return what you were not given. If you are, indeed, generously rewarded, quite naturally want to share.
We must be responsible for their quality of life in old age. Often we want to do something for parents to ease their old age. But we cannot find meaning for them, save them from loneliness, disease and death. We can call, write, come, buy medicines, be interested in health. But we can’t. Moreover, we have the right to expect from them a more responsible attitude to their health and life, because we unconsciously take an example from them. After all, we once waiting for old age. Who but the parent will be an example for us? After all, they are those who are ahead of us for generations, those who share their experience with us.
They are old, rigid and will never change. In fact, it is never too late to become a responsible, good parent. It is in our power to explain to them what we need from them. Even if it is only the ability to cope with our old age and not be a burden to us or someone from whom we must constantly defend ourselves in the hope of having a life of our own, free from their control.
We are always their children. They should always remember that they are a kind of model for us. And if in old age parents maintain a responsible position in this, remember their important role, they receive a lot of respect, gratitude, gratitude and sincere care from their grown children. And all of this is good.