I recently faced the massive task of closing an office and relocating my business to a more convenient, but smaller location. There were stacks of books and files, office supplies, furniture, and intricate electronics to move and re-connect, and I kept my fingers crossed that computers and other electronics would network perfectly on the other end. Plus, I had a tight deadline of clearing out and putting everything in its new place within two weeks.
It’s not like I have a handful of employees to work alongside me to get the job done. I am a one-woman operation. Then the lightbulb went off. Mom! She can help me bigtime. When I asked her, “Will you please help me?” her face lit up with joy. “Yes, I’d love to,” she responded.
Mom was ninety years old at the time, and I did not see how her age mattered. When I asked her to take on a task, she had the choice to say, “Yes” or “No, I can’t handle that.” If she was having a “bad day” or could not work up the energy to help, all she had to do was tell me, “Not today,” and I figured out an alternate plan.
One of the most time-consuming tasks of the move was downsizing files. Tossing unwanted paperwork meant shredding mountains of documents. This was Mom’s favorite job. Together, Mom and I got the job done in time. I would not have traded this time with her for anything in the world. Which leads me to the point of this blog – asking parents for their help.
Are you assuming that caregiving is a one-way street? Do you believe that YOU are the only giver in your parent-child relationship? If your answer is yes, then you are standing in the way of creating joy – for you and your parent.
Can you imagine what it must feel like to wake up in the morning, and have no sense of purpose? To not be wanted or needed by anybody? I can’t.
In my book, The Complete Eldercare Planner, you will find many tips on asking parents for help. If you live close by, or your parents live with you, here are a few more suggestions:
- Vacuum the carpet
- Make salads
- Do research on the Internet
- Sew on buttons
- Cat sit
- Sweep the porch
- Water plants
- Shred documents
- Get the mail
- Grocery shop
Think for a moment about the many different things you are doing right now that your Mom or Dad can easily help you with. Giving them small tasks accomplishes so much. It strengthens the bond between you, and gives them something to look forward to while feeling good about themselves and their new accomplishments.