My daughter suggested that I should call my blog “Instructions For My Children.”
I laughed, but now, here are some of those instructions:
- Remember that I love you all equally.
- Remember that you do not have to be geographically close to be close to each other.
- Respect my right to be involved in decisions about my health and lifestyle while I can.
- Remember how I have lived my life and use those values and lessons when you need to make decisions on my behalf.
- Recognize that your decisions are about me, not all about you. Do not make bad decisions because one of you thinks the other got more attention in fourth grade.
- Recognize that what is best for me might not be convenient for you. Work it out.
- Hire professional help to care for me as necessary but do not use that as an excuse not to visit.
- Take care of each other.
- Remember our numerous anecdotal conversations about aging and end of life care and honor my thoughts on those issues. They have not changed.
- Let me know when there are concerns about my driving safely (no, not now!) and help me find alternatives to keep me out and about.
- Do not fight over “stuff.” Everything has a different value to each of you that is more than monetary. Cherish the memories, and if you cannot agree, learn to share.
- Be prepared to hear the same stories over and over and over.
- Do not be angry when I forget.
- Sometimes, being blunt and honest with me and with each other will work better than trying to be tactful and diplomatic. Learn to recognize these times.
- When I argue with you, remind me of similar conversations I had with your grandmother(s)
- Do not let me wear pants with elastic waists (unless they are fashionable exercise clothes)
- Allow me to live in as safe an environment as possible. If I need to move to a residential care facility, please make sure there is a well equipped gym (possibly a pilates or zumba class?), music that is not depressing, dancing, WiFi, mah jong, a manicurist and Starbucks.
- Laugh with me and let’s enjoy the journey together