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Sandwiched — FranklyStein

My parents are in their mid-80s and need more and more help. I have a tween and three teens, a part time job and very little free time.

MomDadWNever before did I stop to think about what would happen when my parents were no longer independent. I guess that’s not something anyone really wants to think about. So when you get to that place, it can be a shock. At first it’s annoying. They are my parents after all — they are supposed to help me out, not vice versa. Then reality sets in — these are the people who took care of me, now it’s my turn.

But realistically, how am I supposed to do that in this fast paced world that doesn’t leave time for honoring your father and mother? What do people do who live in other states from their aging parents? How do they manage?

Back in the day, generations lived together. Your parents raised you with the help of their parents and when their parents needed help, they were right there — under the same roof. My parents live 30 minutes away in a retirement home that I assumed would meet their every need. But that’s not happening. Luckily, I have a sister with a more flexible schedule. Her kids are older — two are grown — so she bears the brunt of the parental needs, and I bear the guilt of not being able to do more.

And both of us are bearing the brunt of watching our parents decline. It’s not for the faint of heart.

I guess in the long run, I hope I am setting a good example for my kids. I hope they are not hearing the grumbling I sometimes let escape from my mouth, but are seeing the care and patience I try to treat my parents with. It’s not too far in the future, after all, that they are going to be the ones having to care for me.

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FranklyStein is a blog by Chesapeake Family Magazine editor Betsy Stein who lives in Catonsville with her husband, Chris, and four children, Maggie, 16, Lilly, 14, Adam, 14, and Jonah, 10.


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