19 Feb Boomers and Your Parents
So you have an active life! A rewarding, if not stressful and time consuming career; a spouse or significant other; maybe a child or two (or three!); a mortgage or working hard to attain one; daily chores and obligations; community involvement; maybe volunteering at the zoo or your local shelter; and last but not least……….your personal avocations, be they swimming, hiking, knitting, gardening, reading or crossword puzzles. You try to eat as well as you can and take a walk and exercise 3-4 days a week and even with a hectic schedule, you manage your time, keep it all together and even get almost enough rest!
But in the back of your mind you have that nagging feeling that anything more added to your “pile” just might upset the apple cart. But, in lieu of anything concrete or a better plan, you do what most of us do and keep plugging along. That’s life!
So when something does get added to the “pile’ how does one handle it? Some will argue that “the more you do, the more you can do”. It is like throwing a juggler his sixth ball when five are already in the air. However, at some point it will be impossible to “add another ball”.
Others will contend that “moderation in choice and lifestyle allows you cope better when the unexpected occurs”.
For many of us “boomers”, even as we are experiencing middle age, with the advances in medicine, our parents are living longer. And while this is a great thing, it also comes with the knowledge that at some point they will most likely need more direct and involved care. However, until that day arrives you may find it difficult to prepare for an eventuality that has no precedent. They may be self-reliant one day and in need of greater attention the next. Sometimes the changes can be almost imperceptible and confusing and consternating to both you, your parents and your siblings and extended family.
Even if they have good medical and long term care insurance and adequate financial resources here are some things to think about.
1) Do you and your family have a plan to deal with the possible disruptions to your routine? Who is going to do what and how can you work together as a team to help each other as well as your parents?
2) Is there anyone, friend or co-worker or baby sitter or support group who can help you while you may need to support your parents?
3) Do you know who their doctors are, what medications they might be taking and what medical or psychological issues they are truly facing? This will give you a more realistic idea of what they are facing and how to best help them.
4) Have you adequately prepared your boss, co-workers, children and friends that you may need some time to deal with these issues?
This kind of communication can go a long way to reducing your stress and anxiety as well as those closest to you.
5) And finally, if you can’t take care of yourself and push yourself beyond your limit, how can be of use to anyone? So, how can do you make sure to take care of your needs without feeling guilty?
I know this is not an easy topic to embrace, but it is one many of us are or will face as our parents age.
I’d love for you to make it a point to share your insights and suggestions, as I am no expert, just a “boomer” like you.
Andrew, PBE Co-Founder and Co-Author of Time to Reboot