28 July 2014

Being appropriately elderly - a guide

So here's my problem.  The World Health Organisation defines elderly in Western civilisations as 65 plus. My parents are plus.

I'm not quite 40 and still struggle with the label 'adult'.  I don't know if my brain is going to be able to process 'elderly' in just over 25 years.  Especially since we're quite likely to live until our late 80s at the very least.  All going well obviously.
This is not my dad. Yet. 

And my elderly role models are flawed.  The last time Mum broke something was when she was scaling a wall in the UK.  Dad's last few major falls have all been from his motorcycle when he's off-roading in Outback Australia or touring Bhutan.

If you google 'activities for elderly people', neither the traversing of walls or off road motorcycling come up.  Though cup stacking, knitting, large print crosswords, brass cleaning, egg shell mosaics and musical bingo all do.  So as my parents are currently jaunting around Greece seeing things that are even older than they are, they are obviously behaving inappropriately for elderly people.

My siblings and I need a plan so that our parents can be 'model elderly' so we know how to behave when we get to be elderly ourselves.  I mean isn't that how we 'parent'.  By modelling appropriate behaviour?  That whole do as I say, not as I do has been discredited fo' schizzle.

Now The Mayo Clinic advises that "Caring for the elderly can be challenging — particularly if a loved one is resistant to care. You need to understand what's causing your loved one's resistance and how you can encourage cooperation."

So the first step is obviously going to be working out which of the six of us need to tell my parents what cup stacking is and how it's more appropriate for them since they are officially elderly.  I'm nominating my older brother because he's the oldest and it's his job.  Suck it up Bro.

The second step is going to be coaxing my big brother out from under the duvet about a week after they tell him what they think of his cup stacking idea.

And your point about brass cleaning is what Mum?
The third step is to work out why they are so resistant to care.  I mean they're elderly now, they've clearly got to be taken care of before they spend our inheritance on all this fabulous jaunting.  And brass cleaning is an excellent way of keeping finger dexterity.

Step four will be admonishing my father for demonstrating his finger dexterity by flipping the finger.  I do not think swearing in sign language is acceptable elderly behaviour.

Step five will involve all of us ringing each other to discuss our differing view points on why our elderly parents are being so uncooperative about our commitment to their well being.  Will probably send in the little sister to explain to them how they could be better at being elderly as she's generally deemed the sensible one and the parentals will at least let her finish her pitch.

Step six will be to send flowers to the little sister to say thanks and we're very sorry that she's been disowned.

Step seven will be to curtail their social activities.  No more volunteering, catching up with friends, motorcycling, going to the football, exercise classes, overseas travel, technology, girls nights out.  I suspect the quickest way to do this is to print obituaries in the local paper so people stop calling and inviting them places.

Step eight will be to write an open letter to be printed on the front page of the local paper apologising for not inviting people to the funerals my parents never had.  Who would have thought so many people get upset about not knowing about funerals.

Step nine will be to let him continue being crap at being elderly.  Sometimes you just have to let people learn things for themselves and if they are going to insist on living full and enriching lives they will only have themselves to blame in twenty years.

(inappropriate elderly people who will make your day)
And to be completely fair to them, cup stacking is extremely boring. What about you?  Are your parents hard to bring up properly too?
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