Saturday, July 30, 2011

But I Asked for Chicken Livers

This morning I met several high school classmates at a local coffee shop to reconnect and visit.  Then I went to see Mam-ma Polly at the assisted living facility (ALF).  Mam-ma was already seated in the dining room for lunch, but she offered to return to her room with me for a few minutes so that I could unpack the things I had taken to her.  Once there, she asked me, "How was your party?"  I told her it was fine... not really a party... and I asked, "Who told you I was going to a party?"  She snidely replied, "Well, you told me that you were too busy to come down here this week because you were cookin' for a bunch of people."  I had  told her that I might cook dinner for some friends who were busy moving to a new office space this week.  But that did not materialize, and I answered... "I think what I actually said was that I was too busy this week to take you to Searcy yesterday to [your niece] Martha's retirement party... and I was.  But I had coffee this morning with some of my classmates from high school."  Mam-ma never asked if the coffee was nice, who was there...nothing... that was the end of it... and she sat in her chair and sulked.

 I tried to think of other things to talk with her about, but not much came to mind, and we soon agreed to return to the dining room, where the other three ladies at Mam-ma's table were assembled and waiting for lunch to be served.  One lady... my little friend "MawMac" said, "I'm having chicken livers.  The choices were chicken livers or baked fish, and I chose chicken livers!"  I nodded and told her that sounded nice.  Then I noticed the "a la carte" menu on the table, and two of the choices were indeed chicken livers and baked fish, along with hamburger steak and a few other things. Soon the plates were arriving, and Ms. Ruth got hers first... a delicious big plate of boneless chicken breast, scalloped potatoes, mixed vegetables, and two rolls.  She patted the aide's arm and said, "Sugar, if you have a plate with dark meat, I'd rather have dark meat than this chicken breast."  The aide sweetly told her that all of the plates contained a chicken breast... there was no dark meat.  Ms. Ruth shrugged and reluctantly said this was okay.

MawMac said, "Well, I'm having chicken livers."  As the other three plates were presented, they were all the same - chicken breast.  Ms. Evelyn began to protest loudly, "I ordered chicken livers!"  MawMac chimed in... "I'm supposed to have chicken livers!"  Mam-ma Polly added... "I ordered chicken livers, too!"  The aide looked bewildered.  She was new, and she seemed genuinely upset.  Soon Mam-ma's regular aide appeared at the table.  "This is what you ordered," she explained.  The three ladies protested.  Mam-ma said, "I told you I wanted chicken livers!"  The aide said, "No... I specifically asked you this morning if you wanted our lunch special, which was Ranch Chicken, and you said 'That will be fine.'"  Ms. Evelyn piped up and said, "Well, I ordered chicken livers last night!" 

My grandmother nodded toward another table of ladies and muttered, "Well, I bet they got chicken livers."  I told her I didn't think so, and she would not believe me... so I went over and checked... sure enough, every person in the dining room appeared to have the same meal... and it looked delicious.  I tried my best to encourage the ladies to eat what was served... and told them how moist and tender the chicken appeared to be.  While one lady loudly complained about not getting chicken livers, she was cutting up - and eating - her chicken breast!  Another was saying, "I wonder when they are going to tell someone in the kitchen that you cook chicken in flour, not batter!"  There was definitely "high drama" in the dining hall at the ALF today!

Clearly, none of the ladies understands that there is a "Daily Special" at lunch and dinner, and unless they specifically order from the "a la carte" menu - also called the "Sugarloaf CafĂ©," this is what they get!  I tried to explain, but I got nowhere in short order, so I stopped.  I suggested that tonight, they all ask for chicken livers tomorrow, and they could have them for lunch, and Mam-ma harrumphed and said, "Well... maybe!"  And Mam-ma has told me more than once about the ladies complaining at the table... "that's not what I ordered," and that she "just eats whatever they bring me."  Well, I'm here to report firsthand that all four of the ladies at this table were unhappy - and they were all quite vocal about it!  I'm sure that Mam-ma would have been even more vocal, had I not been sitting there.  I finally rose to leave, and Ms. Ruth said, "Do come back again soon... I'm sure we'll be mouthing about something!"

Honestly, if this is the biggest thing these ladies have to get upset over, we're talking pretty small potatoes.  The food at this facility is delicious.  I have eaten there more than once, and I could have gladly cleaned one of these plates today.  This was not one of my better visits with my grandmother, but I reminded myself as I left that 1) she was in great health and moving around well physically, 2) she was reasonably clear mentally, and from all appearances, everything else was going well there, and 3) I must remember to "live in her world" when I am there and then leave it at the ALF. 

The "three-ring chicken liver circus" I witnessed today could be viewed as sad and petty... but to me it was funny.  It gave these four ladies something to rev their motors over, and in the end, nobody went hungry.  The dessert cart contained big slices of white cake with chocolate icing... so if they didn't eat anything else, they had a tasty dessert.  And from what I witnessed, all four of them were eating the chicken they said they did not order.  Maybe it's time for us to give them the old "there are starving children in Africa" spiel they used to give us!  Somehow, I don't believe it would work any better in reverse!

Since I don't have many graphics to accompany this post, I thought I'd include a fun photo of Timothy.  The end of June, he moved to Texas with his mom and baby sister, and we are missing him madly!  Hopefully he will return for an extended visit soon... meanwhile, we're talking on the phone and I'm looking at lots and lots of pictures!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Promises and Boundaries Are Closer Than We Think!

My cousin and his wife are expecting their first baby in September, and I co-hosted a baby shower for them this weekend... held Sunday afternoon at another cousin's home.  Since I was hosting, Mom and my sister volunteered to get my grandmother to the shower.  My sister even visited Mam-ma at the retirement center on Friday and told her, "I will come over around 1:00 p.m. and help you dress."  The shower was from 2:00 - 4:00 p.m.  Mam-ma said she probably would not need help dressing, but 1:00 would be fine.

Saturday morning, my phone rang... Mam-ma.  "I don't know how I'm going to get to that party."  I reminded her that my sister was taking her.  "Oh... well... I didn't know."  "Remember?  She told you yesterday that she was coming to help you dress.  Why would you think she wouldn't come?"  "Well, you know... people have other things to do!"  Funny how she considered my sister's schedule... and this will be important later in this post!

I assured Mam-ma that Suzanne was indeed coming to get her... and should something arise, my mom had said she would step in and serve as the taxi.  I thought I had her convinced all was well, and we hung up.

That afternoon, my niece phoned from Texas, where she and the babies are staying with her boyfriend's family while he works in that area.  We visited, and she put Timothy on the line to speak with us.  He asked about all of us... the kitties, Grandma "E" (my husband's mother), Great-granny (my mother), and then... the moon?  "Yes," I assured him, "the moon is still here, and we will look at it when you come to visit."  (We'll also read about it in his favorite "night-night" books!) 

Saturday evening, my husband and I went out for awhile, and when we returned, there was a message on our machine from my grandmother, "Bring me some light bulbs tomorrow."  Click! (End of message - she hung up!)  Mam-ma is on a kick about needing light bulbs (although she has plenty), so I set aside some light bulbs to deliver to her at the baby shower.

When we got home from church on Sunday, my sister had called... Mam-ma had called her that morning to say she didn't think this would work.  The bottom line was that she had decided she could not eat her lunch and be ready in time for the shower.  Now, lunch is served at noon.  My sister was not coming until 1:00 for a 2:00 shower.  My grandmother was actually trying to back out of attending the shower.  This former social butterfly who never missed anything has become the queen of saying she wants to go to something all the way up to time for the event, then backing out.

So when my sister and Mam-ma arrived at the shower, Mam-ma was muttering, "I shouldn't have come.  I shouldn't have come."  We assured her that all was well, and yes, she needed to be there.  I think she had a good time, but she told me again, "I shouldn't have come."  And as we helped her to the car, she began to cry and said, "I shouldn't have come."  We assured her that we were all glad she was there, and everything had been fine.  But we can see the pattern emerging... she has curtailed her Wal-Mart trips to almost zero.  I used to drop her at home after beauty shop day, and she and her friend Ruby would beat me back to Wal-Mart!  Now she is making a shopping list and sending it to Wal-Mart with the Activities Director.  She said recently, "I guess I'm just too old to shop at Wal-Mart any more."

My sister had alerted me during the shower that a cousin was having a retirement party later this week in another city 30 miles away, and Mam-ma planned to ask me to take her.  But after she was so adamant about this shower and how she shouldn't have gone, I hoped she might dismiss going to the next party.  However, by 7:00 p.m., Mam-ma was phoning me... "We got a letter that Martha is having a retirement party.  It's this Friday from 2:00 to 3:00."  No "Will you take me?" or "I would like to go," just "This is when it is." 

I told Mam-ma, "I cannot make this work."  I have too much else going on next weekend.  And this is partly the truth... although the people who "have other things going on" almost never includes me.  Anyway, I told her that I did not think that Martha truly expected her to make the trip and come to her party.  "Oh, yes, she does!" Mam-ma replied.  "She told me so the last time she visited!"  The party is in a courthouse on a downtown square.  Parking is a problem, and the forecast is for triple digit heat. 

I explained to Mam-ma that I didn't feel she was up to the 30-mile ride, followed by a big walk in the heat for a few minutes at a retirement party in a crowd of people.  She said, "Well, if you can't take me, so be it."  I knew she didn't understand, but honestly, by Friday, I figure she would back out anyway... and I truly don't believe she is able.  The changes are subtle, but she is declining, slowly.  I assured her that Martha would understand... although I don't think she was fully convinced.

My grandmother has become very comfortable and secure in her environment at the ALF... and that's not a bad thing.  She knows the "lay of the land" there and has a pretty solid schedule and routine... and she has to make very few decisions.  And this is a great comfort - to her, and to me.  But there are times when she still wants to function in the "outside world" as she did before.  She wants to be a part of social situations and family events... until she considers the logistics of getting ready, getting there, seating and more.  I thought about the birthday party I took her to a few weeks ago, and how well she did.  But this was an event she has attended for years.  She knows exactly where we are going... where she will sit... who will be there, and what will happen.  There is very little element of "newness" there... everything is familiar and comfortable, and I think that is the difference.

Try as we might to assure my grandmother that we can still make some of these things happen, I think she is often far less than convinced.  Both my grandmother and Timothy often ask for "the moon".  These days, delivering on the promise to a child is often far easier.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

In the spirit of offering helpful hints/suggestions, I would like to talk about "boundaries."  I am presently reading Boundaries: When to Say YES, When to Say NO, To Take Control of Your Life, by Henry Cloud and John Townsend.  In this book, the authors talk about how setting boundaries and saying "No" in certain situations is not cruel or selfish.  In fact, sometimes refusing to participate in certain activities is in the best interest of each party... and I think my cousin's retirement party falls in this category.  My husband suggested that I have given my grandmother an "excuse" - she can blame me and her "lack of a ride" for not attending.  Yes, my mother would drive her if she asked... but I've told my mother that I don't feel Mam-ma is physically able to go, and she has agreed with me.

If I felt my grandmother was able to make this party, I would do so.  This cousin is the last remaining niece... the daughter of one of my grandmother's older sisters.  It would mean the world to her to have my grandmother there, I'm sure... but not at the expense of her health and well being. 

I've also taken advantage lately of a service provided by the ALF for driving residents to doctor appointments on Tuesdays and Thursdays, at no additional charge.  My grandmother had a pacemaker check on Tuesday morning at our local hospital.  Thursday afternoon, she had an appointment for an adjustment on her dentures.  The staff at the ALF was able to drive her to both of these.  There was no need for me to go... no doctors were consulted at the hospital, and the dentist has made these adjustments numerous times - there is nothingdiscuss there.  And even if there were, the dentist would be happy to phone me.  So I scheduled the appointments on the days when delivery service was available and made sure I got them on the calendar at the ALF.  And I was able to accomplish some of the things on my own "To-Do" list at home, knowing all was well with my grandmother.

A year ago, when Mam-ma still lived at home, I would have had to take her to the Tuesday a.m. appointment, the Thursday p.m. dentist visit, and to the beauty shop on Friday.  That would have, in essence, eaten up the better part of three days in one week. And often we had weeks like that, followed by a party or church event on the weekend to which Mam-ma expected an escort.  I am so thankful that I now have such reliable assistance available... and people my grandmother trusts.  She appears to be just as confident going to these appointments with a staff member as with me.  In that regard, we have both shifted the boundaries a bit... I'm depending more on the staff for assistance, and she is allowing me to do so!

My point is to examine your situation and ask yourself where you could possibly let go a little and allow others to help... and where you could lovingly step back and say, "I'm not doing this"... because it's the right thing for everyone.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

A Birthday Party at 102?

Another year has come and gone.  Today we celebrated the 102nd birthday of my grandmother's friend since childhood... Lois Magness Taylor.  Mrs. Taylor's daughter and son-in-law and other family members threw a celebratory buffet lunch party in her honor at their RV resort on the river, Wagon Circle RV Park.  Mrs. Lois' birthday was actually July 15th. As they have done for a number of years now, the family invited my grandmother to attend as a special guest.  Of course, she was eager to go... and I was glad to take her.

We got there a little early, so that Mam-ma could sit with Lois and visit.  They had a grand time and seemed to have plenty to talk about for a little better than two hours.  Later, Mam-ma remarked that she didn't get to visit with many people because she sat with Lois the whole time.  I pointed out to her that every person in the room came by to speak to her and Lois, so in actuality, she probably got to visit with more people!

I had to laugh... Mam-ma is always concerned about the men in the group being taken care of... and today, Mrs. Lois was just like her.  Before the meal was served, she called me over and gestured toward a group of men sitting alongside a table and said, "When are they going to turn those men loose on that food?"  I told her the ladies were still preparing the meal and getting it to the buffet table, and that seemed to satisfy her.  But I had to laugh that... at 102... she was still concerned that the "menfolk" were not going to be fed!

The men (and one woman) Ms. Lois wanted fed!
Ms. Lois and her daughter, Ann, with Mam-ma Polly
The party was lovely, and Mam-ma was treated like royalty.  There was an abundance of food prepared by Mrs. Lois' daughter, Ann, other family members, and members of Ann's Sunday School Class, some of whom were there to share in the party - and help in the kitchen.  There was fried chicken, smoked ribs, all manner of vegetables and side dishes, chips, dip, rolls, garlic bread, and more.
Mrs. Lois had a beautiful birthday cake, and someone led the singing of "Happy Birthday."  There were other desserts, also, as well as Cave City watermelon - a "delicacy" in these parts!  Nobody left hungry this day!

Mam-ma cried as she kissed Lois "good-bye" - and I know they both wonder if they will see each other again next year.  Something tells me they just might!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
I was quite pleased to hear Mam-ma tell more than one person today how wonderful her new living arrangements are at the ALF.  She told several how she had so much to do there and enjoyed the people.  AND... she said more than once that the food was wonderful!  Mam-ma has been telling me that her clothing is too tight - that she has gained weight.  I told her we would take a look at her pants and see if maybe it was time to buy some new ones.  So I measured her - waist, tummy, inseam - and when we returned from the party, I took a look at the clothes in her closet.

Every time I would pull out a pair of pants and ask, "Are these too tight?" she would reply, "No, those are okay."  We finally came up with one pair of pants that was too small and one blouse that she didn't care for... and I surmised that her real problem was that she had her closet in a mess and couldn't determine what she did have.  I had her sit down in one of her comfy chairs while I took virtually everything out of her closet and sorted things.  I arranged all of her pants together, by color... then all of her blouses together by color... and I separated all of her jackets, "house dresses" and more.  When I was finished, I counted 14 pair of pants, and probably 2 dozen blouses.  And that didn't count the clothing in her laundry hamper!  I told her I didn't see any need to purchase new clothing!

This brings me to my hint for today.  My grandmother has always been a neat and orderly person.  Her drawers have always contained neatly folded items... from socks and underwear to pajamas and dish towels.  She has always been quite meticulous about this.  However, her closet was a royal disaster today.  Once I got the empty hangers out and rearranged the clothing, she could see that she had quite a nice wardrobe... and plenty of space.  However, I don't figure she will be able to keep her closet in this shape for long.

So I am making a mental note to reorganize her closet for her about once every month or two.  It will help us both.  I can assess items that have a stain she didn't notice or need mending... and it will reassure her that she has plenty of nice outfits for each day of the week.  I don't want to intrude on her privacy... or make her think I feel she is incapable of managing her clothing.  But I think I can do this in such a way that she won't get this impression... maybe under the guise of returning some of her nicer blouses she likes for me to launder - or rearranging to bring a different "season" of clothing to the forefront.

As our seniors age, they sometimes lose the ability to maintain order... yet order helps their day go a little bit smoother.  This is just one small way we can help keep them in routine... and happy.  And that makes the day go better for all of us!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Here's Your Slice of "Humble Pie"...

The link to this story popped up on my Facebook wall today.  Truly, this is a humbling story... and the statistics are staggering.  Be sure you watch this video!  

  Click here:

Monday, July 11, 2011

How Much Does It Cost?

A few days ago when I visited my grandmother, I commented about something I did not intend to purchase, and she said, tearfully (and with just a touch of melodrama), "Besides... you're already out so much money on me."  I assured her that everything was okay and that I was not "out a lot of money" on her.  But in reality, there are "incidental expenses" that come with placement in an Assisted Living Facilities (ALFs) or Skilled Care Nursing Facilities (commonly known as "nursing homes") - above and beyond basic room and board.  And this was the topic of a telephone interview with a writer for Smart Money Magazine today.

Regardless of whether the resident is "full private pay" or there is some level of assistance from Medicaid or another financial aid program, there will be expenses that are not covered in the basic room and board fee.  For my grandmother, these include:
  • hair care - shampoo and set, haircuts, and permanents
  • manicures
  • toiletries - from skin cream to body lotion to makeup, toothpaste and OTC medications
  • clothing
  • subscriptions - newspapers and magazines.  My grandmother's ALF does provide a subscription to the local newspaper, but it is shared, and my grandmother was not getting access to it often, so she asked for her own personal subscription, which she subsequently shares with other residents.
  • extra snacks - healthy snacks are provided at the ALF, along with beverages like coffee, tea, and fruit juice.  However, my grandmother likes to keep candy in her room, as well as soft drinks, Ensure, and tea for her nightly "tea time" with fellow residents.
  • postage stamps and stationery
  • bird seed - my grandmother has a bird feeder outside her window that we keep filled.  She enjoys many hours watching the birds feed at her window.
  • private telephone - my grandmother has basic telephone service in her room, and she enjoys being able to speak with family members and friends from the privacy of her room, whenever she wishes.
  • "spending money" - occasionally the residents who are able will shop at Wal-Mart or go out to eat.  My grandmother needs a little cash on hand for these outings.
  • medication - while my grandmother has Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage, there is a copay of about $15 per month.  If an additional medication is prescribed that the plan doesn't cover, this is another expense.  When my grandmother got sick with the stomach flu a few months ago, the medication ordered by her physician caused her bill to more than double for that month.  Her dentist sometimes prescribes a rinse for her gums... and this is an out-of-pocket expense, also.
The writer also wanted to explore the incidental expenses associated with the care of our little ones.  While our situation is somewhat different than many, i.e. Timothy is not with us all the time, we still provide many things for his care when he does visit.  I have spoken with other "grandparents" and aunts and uncles who echo my comments that their little ones arrive "with the clothes on their backs," and everything is provided for their stay... diapers, formula, clothing, toys, crib, high chair, car seat, and much more. 

I told the writer that I have almost NEVER paid full retail for any purchase... I shop consignment/thrift stores, use coupons and end-of-season sales, and purchase nearly-new items at garage sales.  But still, it adds up.  Diapers alone can cost $25 a month or more, depending on how often Timothy visits.

The bottom line to our discussion was that making "Smart Money" decisions with regard to being in the Sandwich Generation takes planning and preparation... and a budget.  Failing to plan means planning to fail.  And quite frankly, most people are not thinking about the expenses associated with long-term care for a number of reasons:

  • this is an unpleasant subject
  • they are too busy getting through the daily grind
  • they don't think it will happen to them
  • the seniors don't want to talk about it
I am glad that people are beginning to recognize that this is an important issue that must be addressed.  I have spoken with many friends in recent weeks who are suddenly thrust into making some major decisions for their elderly loved ones, and the expense -  particularly that of "incidentals" - has been a daunting revelation.  Now is the time to plan, so that wise decisions are made and you don't end up compromising your own livelihood in the process!

I don't have any clue if/when the article will run... stay tuned. Meanwhile, start taking a look at your own situation.  Where is there potential for you to face a situation where you are suddenly faced with the care of babies or small children... or more likely, an elderly loved one.  Are you taking the necessary steps to be adequately prepared?  Isn't it time you did?

Friday, July 8, 2011

We've Lost Your Grandma...

I visited my grandmother yesterday shortly before noon.  She had worked on hanging baskets of geraniums that morning... removing dead stems.  She asked the maintenance man, James, to lower the plants onto a bench, and she sat and removed the dead stems and flowers.  Now, she was resting before lunch... her feet propped up on her bed as she sat in a chair.  She seemed fine.

I left the ALF and went to my mom's to help her with a computer issue.  Then I shopped for groceries, and I returned home around 2:30 p.m.  My husband's niece was supposed to bring her two children for a visit around 3:00. 

Our niece and her two children no sooner got in the door than the phone rang.  It was the nurse at the ALF... "Is your grandmother with you?"  "No... I was there around noon and saw her. Why?  Is she missing?"  "Well, yes... she wasn't in her room when they went to get her for her beauty shop appointment, and she isn't in the building... and she didn't sign out to go anywhere."  I suggested maybe she was outside walking?  "No," the nurse replied... "a lady sitting on the front porch said she saw Polly get in the car with another lady."  The nurse suggested maybe my grandmother was with my sister?  I told her that was highly unlikely, but I would check and make a couple of other calls. 

I hung up and called my mom. I knew Mam-ma was not with her, but I thought she might have a cell phone number for one or more of Mam-ma's friends via the church directory. She didn't.  I told Mom, "I hesitate to call these ladies.  If Mam-ma is not with them, they will worry - and if she is, they won't be at home!"  So I decided to wait.  I did phone the nurse again and gave her the name of a man who lives across the street at the skilled-care nursing facility.  His wife is in Mam-ma's Sunday School class, and Mam-ma frequently walks over and visits with him.  The nurse said they had checked that building... but not a specific room.  I assured her that Mam-ma had not run away (which she knew) and that she was probably at Wal-Mart, or at a friend's looking at a flower or plant in the garden, or something like that... and she would return soon.

Meanwhile, my sister called... she had gotten a call from the nurse, also.  She wondered if I had found Mam-ma yet.  I told her no, but I would let her know when she was located.
Our company left about 4:30, and I phoned the ALF.  The nurse said she had gone to a secure wing of the facility, but she would page Mam-ma's floor and see if Mam-ma had returned.  When she came back on the line, she said, "She has just come in.  I'm headed down there now to give that little girl a talkin' too!"  I laughed and told her to go for it!

I honestly don't know what happened.  Mam-ma's story is that she told the ladies at the front desk she was leaving.  But she admits she did not sign out on the little sign-out clipboard.  She went with her Sunday School friends... they drove her across the street to play "Chicken Foot" dominoes with another Sunday School member who resides there.  Mam-ma said, "James put my walker in the car... he knew where I was."  In defense of the facility, James was mowing and working in the yard when I left at noon - I'm guessing the staff didn't think to ask him if he saw a little old lady get in a car and drive away! 

At any rate, Mam-ma didn't seem that upset about it, thankfully... so if they got onto her for it, she took it well.  And I am so thankful to know that the staff is that attentive - and that concerned.  Mam-ma said that someone told her they would try to reschedule her for a hair appointment today.  She said, "It doesn't matter if I get my hair done or not!"  Now, there was a time when that was not the case... but I guess a good game of "Chicken Foot" trumps even nice hair!

This little situation resulted in numerous phone calls - back and forth to the ALF... to my sister and my mom to let them know that all was well... and to Mam-ma to check on her and make sure she was okay.  My mom even called Wal-Mart and had my grandmother paged... and she called Mam-ma's friend, Ruby, to see if Mam-ma was there.  Thankfully Ruby didn't answer - she was with Mam-ma playing dominoes!"  I had told Mom that I didn't want to call Ruby, in case she was at home alone and didn't know where my grandmother was.  I knew that would upset her.  But Mom called her anyway... and of course, Wal-Mart...where they paged Polly.  Of course, she didn't answer the page... she wasn't there!

I later told my mom... "It is uncanny that the minute I get busy with someone else, there is a 'crisis' with Mam-ma.  I'm thinking of her stomach bug the afternoon of Timothy's birthday party... and now just as our little niece and nephew arrive from Missouri for a visit, she goes missing!  How is that?!"  Just another reminder that I'm still smack in the Sandwich Generation... and there don't appear to be any changes on the horizon!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

On another note, a dear friend from my church suggested I read a good book on "boundaries."  I selected Boundaries... When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life by Henry Cloud and John Townsend, from Zondervan Press.  I'm almost halfway through the book, and I can already see that it will help me tremendously with a number of relationships.  I am recognizing some of the comments made to me last summer by a gerontologist, i.e. "What makes you think you are responsible for the care of all of these people?"  I am also learning why I have a hard time saying "No" - and how to change that!

I downloaded this book to my Kindle, but this title is available in several formats from, and I highly recommend it.  I think this book would be a great resource for any member of the Sandwich Generation and those who are struggling with the issues of caring for aging loved ones.  I'm sure I will be reading it again and making many notes for reference.  If you think you have no issues with boundaries, you might still find this book helpful.  This could be just the resource that helps you maintain smooth sailing... and preserve your sanity for the long haul!