Sense & Sensitivity

Creating Informal Support Group Could Help Reader and Friends

DEAR HARRIETTE: I am blessed to have a mother who is approaching her 90th year. She is fortunate to have quite a few friends her age who are still alive. I guess it’s natural that they are having all kinds of health challenges. Every few months there’s another issue. One has heart palpitations. The other got a pacemaker. Another is losing her memory. One of the few husbands left has inexplicable bleeding issues. And yet they are here. How can we, their children, stay upbeat when their health problems are scaring us? This came up again during the holidays when one of my mother’s best friends was hospitalized on Christmas Day. -- Elder Care

DEAR ELDER CARE: Keeping things in perspective may help. You are so fortunate to have your mother and her friends in your life and doing their best as they advance in their years. You are now in a stage of life where you are having to care for your parents in the ways that they cared for you as a child. Often, elders require lots of hands-on care to manage from day to day.

Perhaps you can create an informal support group with your peers who have elderly parents. As your roles evolve into caregivers, be there for one another to talk about your parents’ issues and your own ability to handle the realities of each day. You can create a group chat, a weekly call or a get-together if you are in the same town. Just talking to each other will help you to feel less isolated.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)

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