Sometimes I Feel Like a Piece of Bologna

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Generational Musings

I was talking with friends earlier this week. Three of the five of us are Gen Sandwichers dealing with medical issues with our parents. In fact, I’m in the least crisis of the three. The time we’re spending doing eldercare is time away from our homes and jobs, and we’re all feeling smooshed.

We were asking if we’re really that different from previous generations, or if we just talk (complain) about it more and analyze it more. There are probably more of us than in the past, since the Boomers are such a huge generation, so it may just seem like a bigger concern. But are the issues really that different?

I remember when I was eight or nine, my mom would go once a month to visit her mother in a nursing home four hours from us. That was a hardship for the whole family, but was actually a respite for her. In addition to visiting Grandma, she would get to spend time with her brother who was single. We had no money, but he would treat her to dinner on the town with his friends. I know she felt bad that she couldn’t visit her mom more often, but given our circumstances, I’m sure she was lucky to go as much as she did.

Now it’s my turn. I drive four hours about once a month, and am grateful to have the time and finances to do it. But I do feel helpless much of the time. The need is so much greater than I can meet. I do three things and leave four undone. But I’m grateful that she’s still reasonably healthy and able to live independently. I know that won’t always be the case.

When we were visiting our son last week, we were talking about our planned trip up to my mom's and I asked if he’d take good care of me when I’m old. He replied, “I hope so.” I hope so too. We may need to move closer to him. We’re too far apart for a quick three-day trip. But of course, we won’t need to think about that for years. Hopefully years and years....


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