Monday, January 23, 2017

Who Is In Your "Sandwich?"

A childhood friend and I have been corresponding via text and e-mail for more than year now, and our conversations have involved several twists and turns.  But they keep circling back to what he refers to as "the elders" - namely, a handful of senior citizen family members that he attends to as time and needs arise. Indeed, we are at "that age" where there is no shortage of "elderly folks" who need our attention.  

Grandma E and her son (my husband, Greg)
My parents and grandparents are longer living...but my mother-in-law is still with us.  We are blessed that she is able to live alone in her own home, even 8 months past her 90th birthday.  She no longer drives, but unlike many children of seniors who have stopped driving, there are few requests for a ride anywhere.  My husband (her youngest son) takes her wherever she wants to go...which generally consists of a semi-weekly trip to the hairdresser and the grocery store - and maybe to church on Sunday.

My great-nephew, Timothy, with my Mam-ma Polly and
my mother-in-law, who the children call "Grandma E."
Even though I am not directly involved in the daily care of an "elder" at this point, many of my friends and loved ones are.  I listen as they voice their concerns and frustrations.  I hear their tales of parents who are stubborn and refuse to admit that they need in-home care - or to allow the caregivers to assist them with personal care, such as bathing.  I understand completely when worries about falls, mixed medications, and failing memories are voiced. I totally GET IT!

Just like countless others, I've "been there, done that."  And my mantra is, "You are not alone."  I know that eldercare can be incredibly lonely...and if you are caught in the middle of a "sandwich" that includes children AND seniors - well, your world is likely something of a circus on any given day!  This doesn't even allow for the fact that you may be juggling a job, a marriage, civic and church responsibilities, and more.  You may be dealing with your own health concerns.  It's enough to make anyone run screaming into the night!

This is partly why I started "The Deli" blog when my paternal grandmother was still living and in my guardianship.  I wanted this to be a place where I could "vent" and share my frustrations.  More importantly, I wanted this blog to be a venue where others could read about our experiences - and Mam-ma's antics - and see that "Hey!  I'm not the only one in this boat!  My parents/grandparents do a lot of the same things and have many of the same issues!"  I wanted those who are juggling several "balls" at once to see that we CAN survive these years...and even remember them with a bit of fondness - not in what was happening, but rather, that we did a decent job of surviving!

I have toyed with the idea of turning this blog into a book...and I may still do so at some point.  It would be great to be able to hand my friends and others a book that chronicles my journey and say, "Here...this might help you."

Meanwhile...a similar book does exist.  My late mother wrote a book about HER experience with my maternal grandparents, who both spent their last days in a nursing home.  Neither one of them wanted to be there, of course. NONE of us wanted this.  But sadly, this is sometimes the only alternative.  And Mother's book has helped countless people cope with this decision and the resulting experiences.

If you would like to order a copy of When Heads and Hearts Collide, I have plenty and would be glad to send you one.  I am asking the minimal price of $10 postage paid...and you can order via PayPal by clicking this link or the one on the sidebar.

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