When the child becomes the parent

It is a strange phenomenon when the parent that you have depended upon all your life for wisdom, guidance and more tangible resources becomes the one looking to you for help and support.

It’s a cliche, but it really is the circle of life. Almost everyone begins a physical and mental decline at some stage of life — and it can be earth-shattering for both you and your parent.

The worst response is to panic and get angry — at your parent or whatever force or circumstance you believe is responsible for this betrayal. No one is ever ready.

The appropriate response is to realize that a new series of challenges and adventures awaits you, and to prepare yourself with current information resources and the advice of others who have been through this. It often is difficult and frustrating, so keeping your sense of humor intact is important for your well being and that of your parent.

Remember, just like you, she wanted to remain strong and vital forever. But things change, and people are wonderfully able to adapt to new circumstances. If you face the future with hope and grace and a positive attitude, you can help create the best possible outcome for everyone.