Doc or Daughter: What’s My Role?

August 17, 2014

Doc or Daughter: What’s My Role?

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Watching your parents grow older is not an easy thing, especially when the parent was once healthy and active.

Like many aging adults my mother once loved to take long walks, play ball and ride a bike. As a young mother, she chased me around, taught me how to ride my bike and played catch with me endlessly.

She was young vibrant and healthy.

A mixture of faulty genes and some bad habits (smoking and over-eating) left my mother with severe Asthma, Diabetes and Obesity.

It’s hard to say which came first, the chicken or the egg:

Did she gain weight because she couldn't exercise because the breathing was too difficult or did she gain the weight, and that made the breathing too difficult, which made the Asthma worse?

As my mom’s physical activity level was decreasing and her health declining...

my physical activity and health consciousness were on the rise.

I lost approximately 30 lbs in high school and again in my mid-twenties.

I started running, biking, hiking, climbing, swimming and dancing.

I was becoming more aware as she was sinking deeper into unhealthy habits and lack of physical activity. As time went on my mom did realize that she had gained a lot of weight and that her health had deteriorated. She joined Weight Watchers and lost 50+ lbs (not quite there yet). She also bought a stationary exercise bike, which she uses a few times a day for 10 minutes at a time.

When she adheres to her diet and the bike she loses weight, feels better, and is proud of herself.

This however does not last:

• she loses interest
• lapses into old habits
• goes on vacation
• and lets it all go.

When I try and talk to her about it she gets frustrated, upset and then I get accused of trying to run her life.

(Wow... that sounds familiar. Role reversal?)

I am frustrated and scared.

I only have one living parent and I want her to live to see grandchildren, but I don’t know how to motivate her and keep her motivated. I don’t want to be pushy and annoying.

How do I balance my role as daughter and physician?

How do you balance your roles?

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