Monday, October 23, 2017

Review: As My Parents Age by Cynthia Ruchti

From the Back of the Book

When our parents age, it can be lonely and heartbreaking for them and us. These forty reflections offer hope and reassurance that you are not alone in the process. Roles change, priorities are challenged, and difficult conversations must be had. But there are also precious memories to be made.

This is not a how-to, but a me-too book that provides insight and support for the challenges of caring for your aging parents. As you navigate new and difficult situations as a decision maker and caretaker, Cynthia Ruchti offers a fresh perspective that can turn tough moments into tender memories.

My Thoughts

As My Parents Age by Cynthia Ruchti is an absolutely WONDERFUL book and I cannot recommend it enough for anyone who is dealing with aging parents!

Each chapter deals with a different challenge faced by caregivers of aging parents. The book offers such good advice for each topic and often includes scripture for dealing with very difficult situations.

My mom has vision problems which forced her to give up driving last year. As a result, we felt the best solution was to move her two hours away from the only area she's ever called home and into a retirement community 20 minutes from our house.  I watched her struggle with adapting to her new environment which was complicated by her visual limitations. I cried a lot and was heartbroken that we made the decision to move her so far away from her friends and everything she knew (except for my husband and me). That being said, our situation is not that bad since she lives in independent living and still functions well on her own and has had a phenomenal attitude about all of the changes.

This book has given me great tools and ideas for doing the best that I can for my mom.  One thing the books suggests is to "convert tough moments into tender memories". My mom struggles to buckle her seat belt in the backseat (which is where she usually rides when she's with us) and gets a bit cranky about it and says she doesn't need it in the back. I make her wear it and tell her that I don't want her being a human missile in case of an accident. After reading this suggestion, instead of being sad that my mom is struggling, my husband asks her "You don't want the human missile speech again, do you?" and we laugh and she buckles up.

Another area where this book had great advice for me is in determining how much to "help" my mom. If she isn't as quick as I think she should be with something or she looks like she's struggling, I want to swoop in and do the task for her. This book suggests letting our aging parent do things themselves unless they are putting themselves or someone else in danger. I recently put this into practice when we were out to lunch. My mom was struggling to open the bag of chips that came with her sandwich. I had to stop myself from offering to help and thought the worst that could happen is that the chips would end up all over the floor. She got the bag opened and not one chip saw the floor.

The final thing I will mention about this book is that I love the suggestions of scripture to pray for our parents. There is scripture sprinkled throughout this book that can be prayed in response to almost any situation relating to an aging parent that one can think of. One of my favorites is the suggestion to pray Psalm 139:1-4 and insert our parent's name for the word "me".

I have highlights throughout this book and plan to use it during my prayer time to consistently pray scripture for my mom. I also plan to refer to my highlights to remind myself of positive ways to interact with her. If you are caring for an aging parent or know someone who is, I highly recommend reading As My Parents Age by Cynthia Ruchti.

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