What is the state of being lazy? According to Wikipedia, it’s a “disinclination to activity or exertion despite having the ability to do so.” That pretty well sums it up, but of course the bigger question is why are we so disinclined? And, just to narrow the topic a bit more, let’s look at helping our elderly parent(s) who seem to have lost the desire to be productive and take action. They may even have self-identified as a lazy person.
In grade school we learned that once a body is in motion it stays in motion until it collides with an immoveable barrier of some kind. By early adulthood and throughout the majority of our adult years we have dreams, goals and ambitions which help us stay in motion. By the time we’re in our 70’s and beyond, we hopefully can acknowledge the accomplishment and success of our dreams, goals and ambitions. And, if we’ve done well at staying in motion into our senior years, we may have learned that continually creating and acting on new dreams, goals and ambitions will keep us young in body, mind and spirit.
Yet I worry about my aging parents who seem at times to have lost their way in their life. Their children are grown adults with their own children. They are no longer employed and may not be spending much time with others. Their health is not what it used to be and this holds them back both physically and psychologically. In itself, too much alone-time is not healthy, and can cause inactivity to set in as the norm, therefore, sabotaging our will to get back into motion. Not enough energy to take action and then the action zaps us of energy….so why bother! …this becomes a vicious psychological circle that can be tough to break.
One of the strongest natural drivers to keep most people in motion is the sense of being needed and of value to others. However, once an individual has isolated them self from others, being needed also disappears from the scene. Adult children can remedy this situation fairly easily by reaching out often to ask questions or for help with grandkids…even if it’s just for advice or a second opinion, that phone call with a clear need can do wonders for the self-esteem of the lonely parent.
Getting a parent to volunteer or find ways to be of help to their community can be more difficult to engage if the parent does not consider them self a “joiner” or community volunteer type of person. If they’ve had no history of community engagement, it may take the adult child’s insistence for “help” with their own community activity to get the parent motivated to step out and get involved….probably reluctantly at first, but with time and experimentation, the lonely parent will hopefully find a new sense of belonging and personal satisfaction.
What value will you be to others in your senior years? Help your parent become your role model.