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Help Your Aging Parent Choose Happiness

We all fall into a slump occasionally.  For my mother, she finds it hard to return to normal life after vacation and visiting my brother or me.  I liken it to the let-down that's so common afer Christmas.

I was talking with a good friend about how to help our parents with this.  She said, "choose happiness - why not?"  What a great thought.  We wake up each day and, even if we struggle with aches, pains and worries, we can choose how we will face life the day.  So, while I listen to my mom and validate her feelings, I'll also gently turn the conversation and inquire about the good things happening in her life.  I ask her, "Mom, what are you happy about"?  Before she knows it, she's confirming the stuff that makes her happy.  You know how they say, if you smile, you'll feel better.  When mom chats about what makes her happy, I actually hear her voice change.

Here are some of the things that make her happy. 

1.  She started a new exercise class, chair yoga.  She loves to report her progress.  This is only her second exercise class in her whole life.

2.  Her associate pastor is coming to her visit this week.  She invited him to lunch and to her apartment.  This is a big thing for my mother who would never invite anyone into her home. I heard pride in her voice.

3. She loves it when her neighbors share produce from their community garden.  The produce is delicious and she feels cared for.

4. She loves music and theater, and attends local performances whenever possible.  Music is something that has been a constant in Mom's life for as long as she can remember.

5. She loves to report and share news with me.  I have to smile a bit about this, because when my younger son was 6 years old, he would give me a weather report every morning. 

I'd love to hear how you help your aging parent when their spirits are down.  There will always be challenges and changes for us and our aging parents.  But, we can choose happiness.  Why not?

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