More than two years ago I was swept into my parents' aging vortex.
Not even raising five teenagers prepared me for the heartache, frustration,
and exhaustion of that battle. I think of it as a battle, because I was at war
with doctors, nurses, siblings, and even the parents for whom I was advo-
In my life was consumed by this. My poor, loving husband watched his
wife wither into an old woman whose eyes were wrecked from crying.
Yet, here I am now, somehow on the mossy shore of the same ageless
river that once tried to drown me. My parents are still fragile but happy,
sometimes. I am older and wiser with advice:
1. Before your parents lose their capacity to care for themselves, make
copies of EVERYTHING: driver's licenses, medicare cards, insurance
cards, birth certificates, social security cards, doctors, medications. One
day every important document will scatter everywhere: in their cars, in
their shoes, in their silverware drawers, under beds, under dressers,
2. If you can afford it, hire a home health care nurse to supervise the
dispensing of meds and to interface with doctors. The medical world
likes to use vocabulary no one else can speak. An advocate helps.
3. Obtain a Power of Attorney before you need it. Trust me, you will
need it. It is the crown and scepter of parental care.
4. Maintain one or two relationships to vent, whine, and even punch.
5. Cast all your cares on the One who loved your parents from the womb
and maybe even more now that they are unable to care for themselves.
"Even to your old age I will be the same, and even to your graying
years I will bear you." Isaiah 46:4