Delores Peich
(909) 931-2822

Senior Living Placement, Referral, & Advisory Services Completely Free.

 

NEWS SENIOR CARE

Taking Care of ‘Unofficial’ Family! We All Have Them!

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As I sit here this morning, I am getting more and more excited because tomorrow I get to go to Arizona to visit my Aunt, Great Aunt (95 years old), and cousins. The funny part about this is that my Mom was an only child. So…how do I have Aunts and cousins?

 

A million years ago, my Mom was ‘unofficially’ adopted by a wonderful woman, my Great Aunt Phyllis. Phyllis and her husband basically took my Mom in and helped to raise her and get her out of her extremely dysfunctional family. I thank God every day that she did. My maternal Grandmother was not the best role model for a young girl…we’ll leave it at that. Aunt Phyllis and her husband, Uncle Dick adopted a gorgeous baby girl, who has been my “Aunt Leah” and my mother’s ‘sister’ my entire life. Leah encouraged and raised me as her niece and helped form the person I am today. We all have ‘unofficial’ relatives who are, and should be treated as blood. I agree with this concept completely. My children have always cherished the time spent with their Aunt Leah, drove to Scottsdale to celebrate their Aunt Phyllis’ 90th birthday (to surprise her, and boy was she floored), and have brought a lot of joy to this extended family of ours, and at the same time, have brought the same love and fun to our family!

The same thing goes for our neighbors and friends we know who don’t have a lot of extended family. A few years back, I adopted a Grammy (Pictured above), who didn’t have family in California. My time spent with Grammy has been some of the most rewarding days of my life. We talk, go to the beach, cook dinner, celebrate my kids’s accomplishments, have Thanksgiving and Christmas together, and hopefully have brought more joy to her, than she feels she has brought to us. Take a look around your ‘circle’. Do you know of an older adult who may be home bound, lonely, doesn’t have many family members, or has recently lost a spouse? Get involved. It’s easy to do: Begin by bringing a meal, and really LISTENING to them talk. Don’t cut them off mid-sentence to ‘add’ something you’ve done that’s similar. This time should be all about them. Let them talk. Ask questions. Find out their stories! My Grammy was basically ‘left’ to fend for herself, with a packed suitcase, on her high school graduation day! She could have worried, been sad, or angry, but instead she thrived! She got a job, became a pilot, met and married the love of her life, and had two gorgeous kids! She learned a trade, bought property, and proved to herself and her parents that she could survive perfectly well on her own. Now, years later, with all but one son left, she lives miles and miles away from her nearest blood relative. There are TONS of people we know who have this same story. GET INVOLVED! Write letters, send cards, offer to take them grocery shopping or to the doctor…be persistent. Most seniors are extremely proud and don’t want to ask for help, so it’s our job to offer and refuse to say no. Adopting my Grammy has made our family complete. She loves and supports my kids as if they were her own. She LOVES US and we love her more! She is the new Matriarch of our family, and sits at the head of the table on Thanksgiving!!

Today, your challenge, if you choose to accept it, is to search your hearts and possibly your neighborhood, and find a senior who needs companionship. Make the connection and set up a calendar of days you will stop by or do something for them. This is how we are supposed to live. These are the things we are supposed to do. These are the things that make us grow as good humans. Don’t limit your love to your blood relatives…think outside the box. Create new ‘family members’ in your immediate surroundings and be the person who makes a difference in our world.

I know you can do it!

Have a great weekend,

Laura

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