The Parental Squeeze

by Sandy Heerkens

After retirement, I went back to work part-time for a few years. But then, my parents' health demanded my attention. So I am now part of the squeeze generation.

Just when I wanted to travel, spend my winters basking in the sun of Florida with my husband and I enjoying a glass of wine, and pursuing my many unfulfilled passions; I find myself in the position of being caregiver.

I am the only sibling who lives in the same location as my parents - thus, I am their primary focal point for care, domestic activities, doctor appointments and all that comes with my mom and dad being 87 and 90 years old respectively.

My parents deserve my attention but I also know the "clock is ticking" on my bucket list. So for now, I treasure the time I have with them and hope that their final days are as enjoyable as can be possible. But I continue to search for ways to give myself space and enjoy my time with my husband and children.

It is not an easy balance at all and gives me a whole new respect for those people who have dealt with this concern for many more years than I have.

Comments for The Parental Squeeze

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caregiver time out
by: Sherry, Wilmington, NC

Can you call your siblings and ask them if they can come once a year to stay with your parents so that you and hubby can have a vacation?

You and he deserve a vacation!

Trust your sister and take time for yourself!
by: June in WI

I understand that you want to be there for your folks. I wish I still had my sister to lean on. (She died last year at 68 from ovarian cancer.)

Caregivers need to get away sometimes and your sister will be glad you allowed her to help.

A Trick to Ensure Care in Old Age...hahaha
by: Retd. Prof. Durgesh Kumar Srivastava, C3,Janakpuri,NewDelhi-110058, India

He was 85 and bed-ridden but not ill. He had a sharp mind and used it to carry on his chamber law practice at home, still earning more than the combined earnings of his 3 grown up sons, who lived in the huge double story house that he had built with his own earnings as one of the top lawyers in his city.

The sons and their families ate from the free kitchen that the old man ran in his house. Everything was free, team milk, fruits and hospitality for visiting relatives and guest, all paid for by the old man.

And then the sons and their wives began to neglect the old man. He would lie in his room with no one to talk to him. He felt neglected. His wife had died long ago. He had no company.

Then one day, he played a theatrical trick. He asked his eldest daughter in law to bring to him his late's wife's bridal dress and the 150 gram gold necklace and to call all the other family members to his room.

After everyone had assembled, he asked the lady cook to be called to his room. He announced his intention to marry the lady cook, asking her to adorn herself in the bridal dress and the heavy gold necklace. His friend, a young lawyer, had already arrived to make all legal arrangements for a civil marriage.

The family was shocked and fell at his feet, urging him to drop the marriage idea, promising to take full care of him ... hahaha.

He accepted their pleas. This incident happened many decades ago in a small town of north India.

Same here, Sandy...
by: Wendy

My parents are the same ages, and I am there almost daily -- we do lunch, shopping, and many many doctor appointments.

I am blessed to still have them here with us.

I also know I am avoiding even vacations because i hate to leave them here with only my sister... not that she doesn't go on vacation, she does; and not that she doesn't help, she does.

It's my own mental barrier...

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