Updated: Jul 21, 2021
I'm writing this blog post as an encouragement from the heart, and I have a question for you. Did you have the privilege of meeting your grandparents? Personally, I only got to meet my grandmothers and we currently still have one of them with us. She came to USA on her own, helped raise my brother and me and has always been a bold and independent woman. Looking back to when I was just a girl, she was the definition of absolute self-sufficiency. So you can imagine my saddened heart as the years went by and she began to lose practical abilities such as driving and in some ways slowly became the antithesis of who I knew her to be.
Now that I am a Pilates Teacher, I feel so privileged that I have the knowledge and skills to help my grandma, but this very skill set can become overwhelming. This is because she no longer lives near me and when I visit her I inherently burden myself with the responsibility of doing as much as I can to help. I feel that I should be the person to help her undergo a physical transformation but then I end up experiencing paralysis by the realization that when I go away it will be difficult for her to remember everything. Or really anything for that matter.
So instead of insisting to keep the weight of the world on my own shoulders, I soften my hectic spirit and begin to consider my grandmother's options. Sometimes you just have to hand the work off to someone else even if you are completely capable of doing it yourself. Sometimes you have to humbly hand off the mission so that the mission itself could be achieved. At her next doctor's appointment I was right there to advocate for my grandma's physical health. The doctor was primarily concerned about her diabetes and her kidneys which rightfully so took up the entire appointment, so I had to be fast and lay out all of the reasons why we needed him to connect grandma with a physical therapist. You see, doctors are not usually there in the worst moments of physical pain, and that's why we need to tell them as much as we can and ask all the questions.
Pro tip: keeping a body pain journal to share with your doctor may give them further insight into what you may be experiencing. You won't have to fish for the details from memory at your timed visit
"So Uhh What Do I Got To Do With It?"
Now that I shared my experience, I have another question for you to reflect on. Have you looked at your grandparents' or even your parents' physical state and felt devastatingly helpless? It seems like all you could really do is chalk it up to old age and laugh it off right? Well you can still keep the jokes and take a few extra steps to up your family's quality of life! No beating around the bush; I'll tell you like it is. It's a matter of action, even if of the mildest kind. It is crucial that your loved ones keep moving their bodies in ways appropriate to their physical levels so that they don't "lose it." Literally.
What are the resources available to you and your loved ones? Let's start there.
Or you may be thinking, "but honestly Larissa, my parents are the ones who take care of my grandparents, and I don't really get involved in the first place." Maybe you don't get involved because you wouldn't know how to contribute in your own way and that is completely OK!
To get your mental gears turning, here are some easy ways to participate.
1. Ask Questions:
"Hey grandpa, did you get the chance to go outside today?"
If you're up for it,
2. Take Small Actions:
"Well, why don't we go on a walk together...*incentive* we can grab some ice cream!"
--Giving a purpose to the action will help the activity not feel pointless.--