It’s funny how as parents, we devote 24/7 to our kids with no time for anything else, even ourselves. But when it’s the parents’ turn, the kids who have all grown up leaves the nest as soon as they can without looking back & purposely moving forward to a future without the mom & dad they used to claim as their heart & soul. The people they couldn’t live without become the same people they forget & neglect.
I’m afraid each one of us goes through that phase. It’s really sad, but true. You may have 5 children but once they have families of their own, it would be hard for them to find time for their elderly parents. Priorities get in the way. Sure, they may think of you, but duties & responsibilities prohibit them from taking action, even if they wanted to.
I speak from experience. I love my mom dearly & when I was single, I vowed that I will always be with her & take care of her. I used to be her shadow and constant companion. But then, down the road, I got married, had a husband, then kids. And every day seems to be a busy day. I started with daily calls. Then my visits dwindled from daily to every other day. And now it’s down to twice a week at best. I really feel bad that it has come to this, but like I said, priorities get in the way. The kids need me more. Or the husband needs me more. It’s always somebody else needing me more at one time or another.
My mother in law lives with us, but it’s as if she’s living on her own too. What little time Kap has left, he gives it to me & the kids. She eats by herself, watches television by herself. And when she wants to watch a movie, our helper goes with her. She may be staying with us but basically she’s living like my mom. Growing old alone is really a sad, sad thing.
May I suggest the following?
1.) Get a pet. A dog in particular can give you so much love & attention. You’ll feel needed & depended on again, having to take care of another being. Sure, you can get a fish or a bird for lower maintenance, but a dog? It keeps you warm at night & gives you the company you need. Your dog doesn’t even have to be pedigreed if you’re worried about the expense. An askal gives as much love as a pure breed.
2.) Use your senior citizen benefits. Enjoy your free movie benefit every Monday. Enjoy your senior citizen discount at a moderately-priced restaurant -it’s still better than having to go to the market & cooking your own food, to be eaten alone. At least in a restaurant, you can people-watch. You can chat with the servers. And if you’re lucky, maybe find another lone diner who my turn out to be a friend. Ask your 5 children to provide a monthly stipend for you. That’s the least they could do if they can’t visit.
3.) Attend church & join a senior citizen’s prayer group or bible study within your area. Volunteer for Sunday school. My mom has a church group whom she considers as her support system. Sometimes I would call & she’s out with her church members. It makes me happy to know that she is out there doing something at least since I can’t be with her.
4.) Be pro-active. Go to the gym or yoga for people your age. Go to a gardening club. Take dancing or cooking lessons. The key is to find friends you can hang out with. People who can share the same passion with you & keep you company.
5.) The Internet is a big big world, use it. You can do research or download movies that you can enjoy. Download books or join a book club where you can have interaction & exchange of thoughts. Make a facebook account & hunt down your relatives & long lost friends. Make plans with them. When using the internet, just be careful that you don’t interact with people you don’t know online. And never trust anyone with your money & private details.
I shudder to think what my life would be as a senior citizen. I’m built for company. I’m sad when left to my own devices. I can’t imagine what life must be like for you now, but try to make the best out of it. Life is a gift, use it.
Dear readers, if there is anything you would like to add, feel free to do so on the comment section below. :)