How To Best Navigate Life With Our Aging Parents
As the years go by, many of us find ourselves facing a new and unfamiliar challenge: understanding and empathizing with our aging parents. It’s not always easy to grasp the changes they’re going through or to relate to their experiences. If you’ve ever felt this way, you’re not alone. I, too, found myself struggling to connect with my aging parents until a friend recommended a remarkable book called “Eightysomethings”. This book, written by Dr. Katharine Esty, PhD, has proven to be an invaluable resource not just for me, but also for my parents.
Today, I have the privilege of speaking with Dr. Katharine Esty herself, who will shed light on the inspiration behind her book and offer insights on how we can navigate this stage of life with our aging parents, relatives, and friends. As the saying goes, “We’re not getting any younger,” so it’s essential to find ways to bridge the generation gap and foster meaningful connections with our loved ones.
Dr. Esty’s expertise promises to provide valuable guidance in this regard. Let’s dive in and learn how we can better understand and support our aging parents in this journey of life.
In this episode
[02:03] We talk about Dr. Katharine Esty’s book, Eightysomethings: A Practical Guide to Letting Go, Aging Well, and Finding Unexpected Happiness
[04:03] Dr. Katharine Esty, Ph.D., tells us about her background and starts on her eighty-something journey.
[07:26] How Dr. Katharine Esty gathered data within the retirement community while researching for her book.
[11:22] “I think by the time you’re eighty, there is a shift from a focus on achievement to focus on just being.” – Dr. Katharine Esty
[13:39] Within the “sandwich generation”, most of us wait too long before starting the conversation about our aging parents.
[16:54] It’s also important to listen to your aging parents’ thoughts about an issue.
[20:23] We want to have conversations with our parents but coming from a place of respect and not treating them like children.
[24:59] What do you do when you feel like your aging parents are just giving up?
[30:07] What will Dr. Katharine Esty dare this week?
Your Dare is to think about something that you’ve always wanted to do but didn’t dare to do.
About Dr. Katharine Esty
At age 80, Dr. Katharine Esty had a rude awakening when she could no longer hike to the top of her favorite mountain. Neither of her parents lived to 80 and she had no idea what to expect. Baby Boomers and GenXers get lots of attention, but the cohort of people over eighty that is growing faster than any other older group is often neglected.
She couldn’t find a single self-help book written for people in their 80s. Or one that guided her four middle-aged sons on how to deal with their aging parents. She saw the need for a guide to this strange and uncharted territory of old age, and so she included it in her book Conversation Starters for Eightysomethings and Helpful Tips for Families. As a practicing psychotherapist and social psychologist, she was curious if the negative stereotypes of diminished health and lower vitality held true and if today’s eightysomethings had lessons for us as we reach old age ourselves.
What she learned made her see the possibilities for a whole new vision for old age, larger than eldercare or geriatrics. She is pleased to share that unexpected happiness among eightysomethings was one of the key findings.
Connect with Dr. Esty
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