Happy Hour! (L to R) Nathalie Bartle, Hal Reaves, Evelyn Akin

Happy Hour! (L to R) Nathalie Bartle, Hal Reaves, Evelyn Akin

Seniors are a blessing. Each person was born of someone who, if they lived, is or will be…a senior.

Remember when we were kids and said “we’d never do what our parents did.”

It turns out we do – whether we want to or not. One of my favorite examples is Mom and her trash –growing up it seemed like Mom was obsessed with trash – there could be none lying around – it drove me crazy.

Well, guess who’s obsessed with trash? I take solace in the fact that I have some of my Mother’s traits. My husband isn’t so happy when I talk back to the TV, start conversations with inanimate objects, or ask complete strangers if they’re lost. But I know where it comes from and I embrace it.

Hal and Charlotte Reaves. (Dad visiting Mom in her home)

Hal and Charlotte Reaves. (Dad visiting Mom in her home)

To paraphrase President John F. Kennedy, “Ask not what seniors can do for you, ask what you can do for seniors.”

The following are some easy ways to connect with the important seniors in your life. If there is bad blood between you and a beloved-senior, reconcile. If you need to do it with a third party – use them.

My Mother and I were oil and water for most of our lives. When she got older I got over myself and became her champion as she went through her dementia.

When she died I had no regrets and neither did she. We had both done our best and the love and appreciation was outwardly expressed constantly. The question I always ask myself when it comes to my family and friends is, “If they die tomorrow will I be at peace?” If the answer is no – fix it.

Tell your beloved-seniors that you love them, appreciate them, and thank them. Validate them, by recounting all that they’ve done in their lives and how they’ve contributed to this world. Ask them for life advice; for their wisdom.

Reassure them of the great job they’ve done with their life and family. Every time my father would thank me for something I did, I would remind him that what I was doing was based on what he had taught me.

Relive and recount the good times . . . ask them how they met their soulmate, what it was like when they were in their 20’s and 30’s, share childhood stories and adult stories . . . If you’ve heard these stories a million times before – so what? They are still valuable and precious to hear, again and again.

As we interact with our seniors, we’re interacting with our future.

After my father died, I not only missed him but I also missed all the seniors I’d gotten to know in his Assisted Living Facility. The great stories of wars, travels, families, WOW . . . our octogenarians have such a history.

Being a senior is a privilege. It means that obstacles have been conquered and opportunities seized.

There have been failures and successes – all adding to the collective wisdom.

As we age we might walk a bit slower, require glasses, and perhaps have had some body parts replaced, but who cares?

The truth is not everyone gets to grow old.

So let’s celebrate those who do, and partake in their life stories…as hearing them will likely better ours.


Frances Reaves, ESQ

If you have comments or questions contact H. Frances Reaves at:  hfrancesr@parentyourparents.com.  

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