HARRIETTE COLE: Friends with aging parents can support one another | News | #elderly | #seniors | #execrise
DEAR HARRIETTE: I am in the age group where most of my friends who are lucky enough to still have their parents are now dealing with their major health issues. That includes me. It is hard for me to keep up with everyone to make sure that they and their parents are OK. Just being a supportive friend is getting challenging. I’m worried that I may miss one of my friends who could need a hug or help handling a situation with a parent — or even worse, a parent dies and I can’t respond fast enough. I need to create a system to keep myself calm and to stay engaged. Do you have any ideas? — Caring for Elders
DEAR CARING FOR ELDERS: What you can do is make a list of all of your friends who have elderly parents. Put their phone numbers and email addresses with their names in an easily accessible location. Consider making the plan to contact each friend once a week to check in. Sometimes it can be a call. Other times it can be a text or an email. Let them all know that you want to be there to support them. Encourage them to reach out to you as well, so that the burden isn’t solely on you to keep the chain of communication open.
Consider creating a support group among your friends so that you talk weekly or with whatever frequency works for you. This can give all of you an outlet to talk about the changing dynamics of your parents and your relationships with them. Agree to be there for each other without judgment.
DEAR HARRIETTE: With more and more people getting vaccinated, I have begun to get invitations to meet up with friends. I haven’t done it yet, not so much because of COVID-19, but because I feel self-conscious. I gained a lot of weight during this year, and I don’t want to be judged by others when they see me. How can I get past this fear and embarrassment? — The COVID 19
DEAR THE COVID 19: You are not alone in your weight gain. Statistics suggest that most people gained 1.5 pounds per month during the past year, some as many as 29 extra pounds. Wherever you are, notice it and decide what you will do for your health to turn the tide. In terms of meeting up with other people, please know that you are not alone. Chances are, you are about to see a lot of people who have packed on some extra pounds. Decide to accept people as they are, just as you want them to do for you. Do not comment on your weight or others’. Just be grateful to be with people — still wearing masks and safely distanced, even if you have had the vaccine.
You may also want to start a walking group or exercise group where you meet up with people and move your bodies. Many of us need to jumpstart our fitness routines. Now is the time!
Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.