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Aging Parent Vigilance & Hot Almond Broccoli

February 23, 2012

Why is this perfectly normal, gonna happen whether you like it or not part of life is not discussed openly and often?

It’s hard to believe/accept that one day you/your parents will not be able to make the decisions of daily living. Whether that is what to wear, what to eat, paying household bills, shopping for groceries…

For some, it’s the fear of having to be responsible for them. Something else to do, someone else to look after when your plate is overloaded with your family, your job, your life. And for those who have just gotten the kids out of the house, enjoying an empty nest for the first in years.


Our parents do not want to give up their independence. They have been making decisions for themselves for a very long time and don’t feel they need our help.

Then all of a sudden we are confronted with a crisis – usually a health crisis, but it can come in any form: car accident, money issues, etc. We arrive for a visit and find the house in disarray, Dad in his chair watching television and can’t get up by himself, mother struggling to walk from the kitchen to the bedroom without getting winded. How did this happen so quickly and why didn’t they tell you they needed help?

Because it came on them so gradually, they made adjustments to their lifestyle and kept going. These are not the people to complain about every ache and pain… uh, most of the time… These are the can-do, will-do folks who rebuilt the world after World War 2. They do what needs to be done and that’s that!

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Some of us have been dealing with these issues for a number of years now, some are just starting. One thing to keep in mind – make note of changes that should have/could have been made and make them for yourself in your own life. It will make life easier for you and your own kids. Be very gentle and kind with your parents as you begin this transition into sharing their burdens, their responsibilities. We’re talking about a paradigm shift of gigantic proportion and things like that do not occur in a vacuum.

Remember Newton’s Third Law: For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Or think of it as a massive earthquake – pressure is exerted in one place causing friction and pressure in another which causes pressure in another and another and another…

I guess the first and best step is vigilance. Pay attention. Be aware that changes can occur rapidly and won’t necessarily wait until the 80th birthday to start.

The holidays were almost 2 months ago. Did you “pay attention” to the little things you might not have noted on your previous visit. Casually bring up the topic while setting the dinner table, “How is Dad getting around these days?” “Are you able to get outside and walk around the corner when the weather is fine?” “Are you still cooking dinner every day?” Innocuous questions that might be a springboard into the real issues of that household.


Hot Almond Broccoli

Eating cruciferous veggies daily, cooked or raw, will keep you & your family healthy!


  • 4 cups Broccoli Florets
  • 4 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive or Coconut Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1/4 cup Almonds, toasted & chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt


  1. In a large iron-skillet cook broccoli & garlic in hot oil over medium heat for 8 minutes, but do not overcook broccoli.
  2. Remove from heat.
  3. Stir in lemon juice.
  4. Toss to combine with almonds, pepper & kosher salt.

Serve as a side dish or a snack.


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