The center line of your life, as in tennis, is a moving target. And when you’ve come to the point in your life that your parents need you more than you need them (if that’s possible!), that center line shifts on a daily basis.
Whether you parents live independently in their own home (my father-in-law) or a nursing community (my mother) or assisted living (my mother and step-father before my step-father’s passing) or with you (have not had that personal experience but have clients that have), the number one challenge is feeling that you are serving them in the most appropriate way possible.
This is an area we cannot approach from the advantage of experience. We’ve never been 80 or 90 or 100. We can’t benefit from our own frames of reference.
Several years ago, I shared with my father-in-law the challenges I was having with my parents who were approaching what I thought was a critical stage that needed intervention, the sooner the better. Of course, my father-in-law recognized that my concern also included him, as his circumstances were changing and he was not too far behind them age wise. “What I can tell you”, he began, “is that you will know what to do when the time is right to do it. If you are second guessing yourself, or unsure of the answer, then it is best to let it go and wait for a time when there is no doubt.” This was the best advise I’d ever been given, and not just where my parents were concerned!