On October 10th the Geriatric Interest Group hosted a “Lunch & Learn” with Professor Lesley Siegloff, Senior Lecturer and the Associate Dean of Practice Development at Flinders University School of Nursing & Midwifery in Australia. Lesley’s candid remarks about her mother’s transition from independent living to a residential aged-care facility were equally humorous as inspiring. Lesley’s mother, a retired nurse, decided on her own when it was “her time” to join a retirement home. After much research, she picked out the perfect community for herself and presented her new home to her children. Relatives helped donate or sell the belongings she had collected over a lifetime, but she led the way. This was not a decision she made over night; it was simply the next step in a natural progression of decisions she had made throughout retirement.
As Lesley described, too often adult children assume the parenting role for their elderly parents. They strip them of their driver’s licenses, homes, control of their finances, decisions about their health care, all of their independence. While in some cases this may be necessary, for Lesley’s mother it was not. Instead, Lesley’s mother continues to make her own choices, and with that, both she and her family have found peace in the aging process.
Gretchen Housel, BS Fall ’13