Getting Older

We all do get older, that is a fact of life. For some of us that means age related crisis, for some it means having to pluch gray hair out from wherever, and it can mean facing the stark reality that your parents get old.

For me, getting older means that I have my Wifey and our two furbabies with me on my journey through life. For my own age crisis I already wrote in another blog, The End Of The Line(?).

Our first doggo, Lukas, has already journeyed to the other side of the Rainbow Bridge, and hopefully will come one day and bring us there too. insha’Allah. That, like many other mysteries remains to be seen and experienced.

Almost The Rainbow Bridge (c) Khalil Shafiq

What Does It Mean To Us?

As said, we do get old, and that is something we should not try to avoid. It is part of our lives here on Earth, and accepting it can bring joy to our lives. But, at the same time, acceptance can be hard. And it can be especially hard when it comes to our parents and grandparents.

In many of the Western cultures, I daresay, when the parents get older we have a tendency of externalising it to some home nursing service, or and elderly care home when they cannot manage anymore in their own home. In many Eastern cultures it is common still to have multiple generations living under one roof, of in a close knit community. As my Wifey is Malaysian, we do kind of live in an amalgamated version of these two ways of living – and it doesn’t make it easy, at least in all the cases.

My Mum lives in an assisted living home and is as happy as can be. Even if her mobility is mostly gone, her mind and wits are working well. And she enjoys having the nurses around, with whom she can chat and talk with. And having seen the staff there, they seem to be magnificent!

Mother And Son In Malaysia (c) Khalil Shafiq

But knowing how active she was before her illness happened, it has been a long and hard journey of acceptance for me, and for her.

On the other hand, my father lives with us, and this has caused some raised eyebrows from Finn’s and foreigners alike, as this kind of arrangement is not very typical of the Finnish culture. It used to be, but isn’t anymore. Now it is more common to have home nursing visiting the alone living elderly 3 times a day, or if they cannot manage there anymore, they can hopefully get a room in an elderly care home.

As my dad has always been a hermit-like, we thought he would feel better living with us, especially when there are days when his arthritis prevents him from doing anything. But lately, and this is hard for me to admit out loud, I feel like his general health has really started to wane, and it has led to a realisation that either we stay home full time or start to have a discussion with him that what is the next step.

We Are At A Junction

What Is The Best Solution?

Is there one? I think we all need to tailor make our own best solutions when it comes to getting older. Some of us have children that we hopefully can rely on in the future, some of us don’t. We who don’t, have to find alternative safeguards to ensure our own old age care. And that, let me be frank, scares me. But, one day and step at a time, there is no reason to overly worry of the tomorrow.

And when it comes being a child of an elderly person, we just have to have a chat with them – what is it that they want as opposed to what is it that they need. As a nurse it always feels bad when I cannot provide the best care possible, but as a son, it is paramount to me that my parents are safe and their needs are taken care of, even if me and my Wifey are having a week in Spain.

But will this work for you and your parents?

Might, or might not. We all are individual humans with our own needs and wants. That is why there should be open communication between people and open minds to accept the fact that we need to tailor make the future to suit us all.

We should not be afraid of the future. Yes, we all get older, but hopefully also wiser and more adapted to the changes in us and around us. We may, or may not, have ailments or have to deal with our significant others going through a life altering events, but all of that is part of life.

I’m not saying that we should just sit down and say “I will be ok, because I trust in God”.

Verily Allah does not change a people’s condition unless they change their inner selves.

The Noble Qur’an 13:11

So we should get ready for the future, and have plans for ourselves how do we want our lives to be when we are older and wiser.

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