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Prayer with an Aging Parent

Today’s Reflection

WHEN IT COMES to my aging parent, I find it difficult to straddle the line between her need for independence and her need for assistance. How can I be supportive of her desire to be on her own without neglecting her safety and dignity? There are times when she doesn’t notice spills and odors, when I must protect her from herself, when I overrule what she wants for her own best interest. O Lord, I confess that I get frustrated and treat her like a child. Forgive me. I feel the tension between preserving her self-esteem and maintaining my sanity. My heart breaks for the once independent woman who is losing her abilities. She cannot always see what I see or hear what I hear. But in my efforts to help her, I am not always mindful of her privacy and dignity. Help me to be sensitive to her situation—to her fear, her embarrassment. May I offer her dignity as best I can, knowing that growing older is not easy.

—Missy Buchanan
Voices of Aging: Adult Children and Aging Parents Talk with God

From page 48 of Voices of Aging: Adult Children and Aging Parents Talk with God by Missy Buchanan. Copyright © 2015 by Missy Buchanan. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Is there someone in your life that came to mind while reading today’s mediation? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? —Micah 6:8 (NRSV)

Prayer for the Week

Lord, As I advance through the stages of life, help me grow in the wisdom without losing the joy, play, imagination, and childlike trust you gifted me with in my early years. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Something More

For more books and resources for older adults…

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Looking for lectionary-based resources? Learn more about The Upper Room Disciplines.

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{ 4 comments… add one }

  • robert moeller August 12, 2019, 7:09 am

    My Mom came to mind, she’s been gone a little over 4 years now, her last year was very difficult as she, from my perception, had no idea of who my sister and I were. I’m thankful that for most of the 7 years we cared for her, she was able to do and enjoy many activities. Dementia of any kind is a terrible condition.

    I am at higher risk of having this as I have two of the genes and some other risk increasing factors. They are not a guarantee that I will have it. God will see me through as has been the case all my life. Sometimes it was without my knowing and more recently it is with stronger awareness.

    A wonderful service yesterday learning about salt in the Bible and what it teaches us about God. Had salt with vegetables and in cookies during fellowship time. Next week’s food is fish.

    Prayers for Doris, home after the surgeon found there was nothing he could do. Prayers for Meesook and Anneliese hoping for relief from pain in their joints and muscles. Prayers for baby Finn, born with heart problems, has already had open heart surgery days after being born. Prayers for Marcy, Julie, Connie, and all in need of medical help. Added prayers for safety and well being for Julie and Megan, and all the needs Marcy has.

    Thankful for cooler, less humid weather, skin healing, a new bed and mattress on the way, and job searching. Count your blessings, there are more than first meets the eye. Thank You, Lord.

  • Julie August 12, 2019, 8:03 am

    Strange how one’s mind immeo those with Alzheimer’s. My grandfather has been gone many years and in the end he knew no one and was even unable to hold himself upright. Also interesting that because of our memories of them even when we visit toward the end they remain the same strong and sound person we knew and still love.
    Both a blessing from God and yet it causes such pain.
    Such a God given blessing that Robert was directed to a church where he can grow and thrive. Prayers for Erich for healing and a job and for all that Robert holds close that are dealing with health issues. Thank you God for the blessing of modern medicine that can save a babe that would have died in the past.
    Prayers for Andrea and Lowell and the blessing of friends’ visits.
    Prayers for Betsy and the blessing of a grandchild.
    Prayers for Connie and the blessing of flowers and hummers.
    Prayers for Jill and the blessing of beach vacations.
    Prayers for Lou and the blessings of three children.
    Prayers for Mary and the blessing of her sister Molly.
    Prayers for Marcy and the blessing of a caregiver, Mary.
    Prayers of thankfulness for the many blessings God bestwos on me daily. I begin my days with thanking and praising Him for blessing me with the kitties and for another day of them being healthy and hungry. They will not be happy later today as they have their vet appointment and need their rabie shots.
    Prayers for all who visit this family of loving believers

  • Anita Marshall August 12, 2019, 10:54 am

    An aging parent’s dignity must be preserved at all times. This means no continuous harassment about cleaning his or her home. The answer is either to clean the home or pay for the cleaning. It may mean installing devices to insure safety. It may mean becoming the aging parent’s accountant by thoughtfully, and with his or her approval, managing money. In all cases, the apparent must be included and kept abreast of life needs and future plans for his or her life. Most of all aging parents must be loved, protected, and valued as individuals and be grateful that the parents is the special one through God gave them life, and be grateful and find joy being in their presence.

  • Betty Edwards August 12, 2019, 2:32 pm

    This touches very close to home. My mother died in late May of this year, about 2 weeks before her 95th birthday. During the time that I had responsibility for her care, I found the balance between dignity and independence to be very difficult to keep. Although Mom was dealing with dementia and other medical issues, I am thankful that even when she couldn’t speak my name she knew who I was – she knew my touch, my kiss on her forehead, … and her face would light up whenever she saw me.
    I pray for all those in similar circumstances – the path is not easy. I have no regrets.
    All any of us can do is our best, and know that we will receive forgiveness for the places we feel we fell short.

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