Baby boomers, sometimes referred to as the “sandwich generation,” are often caretakers of both their aging parents and their own children. And, some baby boomers find themselves with the additional stress of caring for a spouse who is ill. In this issue of My Generation, we offer stories, ideas, support, and resources for boomers who find themselves in the role of a caretaker.
I think it was about nine years ago when it became obvious that my mom, who had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, was going to need some extra care. She had started to wander; she would run away and get lost; she was in jeopardy of hurting herself. At the same time, my own children were in the prime of their teenage years at 13 and 16. And, to complicate things even more, I lived about 150 miles away from my mom, who needed care. I was at Target doing some back-to-school shopping with my youngest when I got a call from the local police in my mom’s town telling me that my mom was missing. I think you can imagine the stress.
During the time of my mom’s illness, my sisters and I took on specific roles in her care. One sister lived nearby and she became the primary day-to-day contact and support for my mom. We also hired a caregiver who spent 10-15 hours a week visiting with my mom, running errands with her, and generally providing some respite. My other sister and I each took on a role, as well. I would drive down and go to the medical appointments; Nancy was trying to get a handle on the finances, insurances, etc. It was not easy on anyone.
In each of the personal stories in this issue, you will find the similar theme of boomers needing to accept the role of caring for an aging parent or an ailing spouse.
Renee Bernier and her sister, Michelle Brown, work together to help with the care and support of their mom, Joan Beley. Without their help, they fear that their mom would never have gotten through this trying time. You can read their story on page 8. Renee O’Neil and her family also know first hand how critical it is to work together to advocate for aging parents. She and her siblings worked together to allow their parents to stay living at home longer. Their story is inspiring. Read more on page 5.
Thank you for taking time out of your busy days to read My Generation. We are always happy to hear your thoughts, ideas, and comments.
Lee Hews, Publisher