Wednesday, June 17, 2015

** Caregiver Nation **

Today's Blog is about talking with and teaching our children how to plan for the future when it comes to their Long Term Care and ours.

I have four children: a daughter 32 and 3 sons - 28, 27 and 25 years old. They have watched me over the years being their Grandparents' Caregiver. They have seen the emotional impact that experience brought to my life. They've been very supportive. 

My youngest son lived with me until recently, so he got a birds-eye view of what took place. My other children moved out long ago, but we remain close and they heard and saw what was happening too. I made it a point not to "unload" on my youngest all my woes and worries, but there were times my emotions got the best of me and he saw me at my worst. That would be a range of emotions from despair, to sorrow, to heartbreak, a gamut of ups and downs on a regular basis.

One of the things I haven't talked with my children about is Long Term Care for me or them. That was one of the things my siblings and I didn't discuss with our parents either, until it was needed. There was never any conversation about Long Term Care for either of them. 

Looking back on that, it's a surprise, because we are typically an informed family that is close-knit. We all live in the same city, and yet that topic never came up. Only until my Mom became ill, did we begin that communication thread. Fortunately, my Dad is in good health. We take for granted he will be for a long time. It has only been 7 months since my Mom passed, so we are still adjusting to this major change. The "new normal" is beginning to settle in and we are now accustomed to the initial shock of the major loss we incurred with her no longer being here. 

We all would like to believe we won't have to face serious/chronic illness in our senior years, but for some of us, that will not be the case. At the rate that Alzheimer's Disease is infiltrating the globe, and other chronic/terminal illnesses, millions of people will be dealing with these debilitating illness that destroy one's mind along with other maladies. 

I'm guessing my family falls in the range of norm for this topic. As a people, we've never lived this long and have had to deal with so many potential challenges to support ourselves financially and physically. The cost of Assisted Living and Independent Living is huge. There are still millions who stay home through their entire life cycle with no option because of financial restrictions.

Is there a way we can create a program for young couples who are planning their future together about what it means to be a Sandwich Generation person (SanGen) so they can prepare for the future? 

There are dozens of articles on senior care, but where is the information for our children to refer to, to avoid the pitfalls and shock of it all when the day comes and we need outside help? 

I was inspired to write about this subject from my friend in Indonesia, Natalia Dewi Pratiwi. We've had several communications between us over the last couple weeks. She has a heart for the Sandwich Generation, and is working hard to help her own culture grasp all the changes I have been writing about in my blogs and this particular subject too. Thank you Natalia!

This may not be the easiest subject to talk with your children or parents about. After all that I witnessed and dealt with as a Caregiver, I encourage you to start that conversation as soon as you are able.

This painting by my Mother, Joan Reisman, was painted years ago and hangs on my wall where I see it everyday. I thought it suited this particular blog well, since we are talking about our children and families and how to plan for our futures.  

Best Wishes,
Carole Brecht
Instagram: @San_Gen_Woman & @tangled_bee
Twitter: Carole Brecht @SanGenWoman

#caregivers #caregiving #eldercare #familylife #love #thesandwichwoman
Copyright 2015

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