Sunday, October 4, 2015

What no one tells you about aging parents

My mom thinks she's the sandwich generation. She says she's a "club sandwich" because she has her parents, children, and grandchildren. She might be right, but I'm also living with a sandwich. Young children, down to age 4, and older parents in their late 60s. What no one tells you about aging parents is that they probably feel guilty about not having enough time for their parents, children, and grandchildren, because they still have to work.

My grandfather, my mom's father, was diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia in 2006 and passed away this Spring. My great-grandmother, my mom's grandmother, had Alzheimer's. Reading "Still Alice" makes one hypersensitive to the possibility of the existence of some form of dementia in one's family. What no one tells you about aging parents is how to have an honest conversation with them about their mental health.

My dad has donated his whole body to science so that there won't be anything for the family to take care of. On the other hand, he also bought a cemetery plot - maybe in case science doesn't want him? My mom was a P.O.A. for my grandfather, but has set nothing up for herself. What no one tells you about aging parents is that some of them seem to be in denial about their own mortality.

As far as her children know, my mom has no P.O.A., no Will, no Executor, no last wishes. She once mentioned something about having red velvet fabric in her casket, but that's all. What no one tells you about aging parents is how difficult it is to get them to discuss their final wishes.

What about you? What did no one tell you about aging parents?

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