Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Aging Parents: The Pressure of Time

Organized aging parents--their comfort zone: no surprises, they value planning ahead.
With thanks to Senior Advisor R, today's post focuses on the mode some aging parents prefer to live their life in.

R has errands and I plan to pick her up. Trying to be considerate of an aged parent I suggest we aim for 11am. Said I would phone around 9:30.       “You can call as early as 7,” she said. “What I don’t want to do is have to rush. If you wake me, it’s fine. I’ll have the information and can go back to sleep. I don’t want to rush to get ready….and that’s something you should put in your blog so adult children will realize at a certain point, aging parents don’t like to rush."
R. elaborates--says she can't speak for all aging parents, but being on time is important to her. (Although in her 90's, she still goes out a lot.) To do that comfortably, however, it takes time--more time than most of us would spend getting ready. 
I think it's safe to say most--if not all--of us realize older people slow down; they simply take more time than younger people to do things. It's why R likes to plan well ahead. (Doesn't like surprises, she says.) No doubt it gives her a feeling of control which, of course, supports independence. So I will telephone R once I know when I can pick her up--even as early as 7am.
I got to thinking: I, like most of us, live life on fast forward the majority of the time. Too much to do, not enough time to do it in. I probably rush unconsciously. I try to organize and structure my time, but something unforeseen gets squeezed into my schedule more often than not.  It's the way life is today.  In spite of that, scheduling time to be with R is sacrosanct. I let nothing get in the way. 
So I’ll be mindful of not speeding on the freeway to her home, even if I’m rushing to be on time. I don’t want to keep her waiting--not one minute; but then again, I must admit I’d hate to get a speeding ticket.

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