Seeing a Loved One Age

by D.R., Placement Student

Ageing is an inevitable process that all will experience. As we get older, we are sometimes not able to do items we used to be able to do. Although it can be difficult to experience this, seeing someone you love grow old can also be challenging. Things they used to be able to do they may not be able to do anymore, or they may need to modify how they do it.

I can speak from experience on this topic. I was extremely close with my great aunt as she had a large hand in raising me. She passed away when I was nineteen but seeing her age over the course of my life was, at times, difficult to process. When I was younger, she was able to walk easily without a cane, she was able to take care of her garden, and she was able to clean her house with little difficulty. But as she got older, she began to need a cane to help with her balance (she needed to use a walker, but she was very stubborn and would not use one!), my aunt and I had to do most of the gardening my great aunt used to do, and my great aunt ended up needing help cleaning her house. Although I am glad I was able to help her with the different daily activities she took part in, I found it difficult to process this as I saw the independence she had slowly fade away. This became especially apparent after she moved in with my aunt (her daughter) after she could not do many of her daily activities by herself.

After losing my great aunt (and her being the last grandparent figure in my life), I began to notice how my parents were ageing. This has especially been difficult for me to watch as, in my eyes, my parents have been able to do everything. Seeing them get older and require more help than they did before, at times, makes me realize that they will not always be around. This is a thought almost no one wants to have as one’s parents typically play a large role in a person’s life, and many people tend to think their parents will always be around. I know I believe this!

Although ageing is a process everyone goes through, and it can be challenging to comprehend for a person that they are ageing, it can be difficult for people to witness their loved ones age. Most love to help their loved ones out as much as they can and are grateful their loved ones can come to them to ask for help. But, it can make people think that their time with them is limited. It also sometimes means that people will need to alter the perceptions they had of their loved ones. At times, it can also be overwhelming adjusting to helping your loved ones more than you used to. This means that you not only have yourself to worry about (and maybe your partner or any children/pets you have), but also have to worry about someone who may have cared for you. This will not be an easy adjustment for either the person providing the help or receiving the support.

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