Welcome to Stories of Caring for Elderly Parents
Dauna Easley and Marky Olson began teaching together in the early 1970s. Their paths lead to different parts of the country but the annual Christmas card kept them in touch.
Both of them love writing and both have been published by Chicken Soup for the Soul. Both earned undergraduate and graduate degrees from Miami University, Oxford, Ohio.
Both of them taught elementary school and moved on to teaching high school.
Both enjoy long marriages, children and grandchildren.
And now, both of them are caring for Elderly Parents.
Marky’s mother is gone now and her father lives in an Adult Family Home in the Seattle area.
Dauna’s mother still lives in her own home, near Dauna’s home in the Cincinnati area.
Suddenly, their Christmas-card friendship has rebuilt itself on the strength of the past and the challenging power of walking the final path with elderly parents.
Read Dauna and Marky’s stories in blog posts and their book
Caregiving Elderly Parents: Real Stories from two Caregiving Baby Boomers
Most recent post:
I’m not sure how this happened, but my husband and I seem to have become the senior members of the family. All four of our parents are gone so from a logical standpoint, I get it. But with no parents in front of us, we have become the quarterbacks hurtling down the field with no protection. We just have to face the future and make the right decisions. Now.
What exactly does that mean? Certainly there are the logistical decisions-hard to face, but tangible enough that we can check them off of a list:
- A Will
- Durable Power of Attorney
- Medical Directive and a POLST
- Understand your medical insurance and realize that Medicare does not substitute for long term care (nor should it).
- Make sure your loved ones know about these documents and talk with them.
- Seriously consider the best place to live your retirement.
Then there is the heart. I don’t mean the medical condition of your heart, but the emotional, unseen forces that haunt you in the night and throw roadblocks in front of every logistical decision you try to make.
- Maybe it’s leaving a longtime home. The home that houses memories and traditions in every corner.
- Maybe it’s realizing that this is the last chapter of your life and your bucket list is still long.
- Maybe it’s accepting that the workforce isn’t interested in 60 somethings in spite of our wisdom and experience.
- We are the generation that began having children later. Our children even later. On the front end, that seemed like a great idea. On the back end, you realize that you may not see the wedding of a beloved grandchild.
- Maybe it’s holding your mother’s doll or your father’s teddy bear and wondering if they will be properly loved when you’re gone.
- Maybe it’s opening the dialogue with an adult child.
- Maybe it’s opening the dialogue with yourself.
No matter where you are in your journey with your parents or yourself, there is a truth of life. Antoine de Saint Exupery (The Little Prince) said it beautifully and profoundly:
It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.
So-complete the logistics list. But know that your heart will see you through your journey. The wisdom of the heart absorbs fear, buffers weakness, offers forgiveness, compounds joy, rebounds and is able to let go.
I am learning how to work with my heart. It turns out that memories are portable. You really do take them with you and then they sneak in and take up residence in the new home. Take a picture of something with only sentimental value. The picture washes you with the same memories as did the original. The wise trapeze artist grabs hold of the new rung just before releasing the old. The fear of letting go is trumped by the adventure and safety of the new.