By Ronda Nissley
Ronda is co-director with her husband, Lavern, at Encompass Connection Center. Her educational and vocational background is in long term care administration, having served as administrator of several facilities before stepping away to work together with Lavern in 2005.
Your mom or your marriage? Which would you choose?
You may have a quick, easy answer; however, as aging parents cycle through predictable stages of decline and dependency, it's not always clear where the priorities will land.
Lavern and I are finding ourselves among the growing number of baby boomers that are caring for our aging parents. Over the past year, we have moved both sets (all 4) of our parents (ages 86-89) to Springfield in order to provide better support for them as they age.
Although we consider ourselves blessed to have this time with them, there have also been unanticipated challenges. Multiple trips to the ER, sleepless nights and seemingly endless lists of ways they need our support.
Amidst the many high priority demands it’s easy to put our marriage on the back burner and to take our partner for granted. In navigating this new season of our lives, we’re finding the need to return to some of the same tools/principles we used when our three young children were still at home.
Here are our top 5:
So, back to the original question: Your mom or your marriage?
Rather than making this an "either-or" choice, we encourage maximizing the health and relationships for both marriage and parents. Applying the 5 tools/principles above will go a long ways toward that end! May you find the wisdom and direction to experience "both-and".
Lavern & Ronda Nissley are co-directors of Encompass. Married since 1978, both enjoy coffee, riding their tandem bicycle and working together to build strong relationships.