Sandwich Generation Woes

<p>Two of my friends are facing unenviable sandwiching. One of them works full-time and is married to a spouse who also works full-time. She has a D who is 16 & a JR in HS as well as a S who is a sophomore in college 5000 miles & 5+ hour plane flight away. They have had to sell their home & remodel her folk's home to build a new place that can hold all of them so she can help care for her dad who has dementia & prepare meals for all of them. </p>

<p>Another friend's H is recovering from a heart attack & now needs help transferring from bed to chair, as well as many ADLs. She is still working full-time to help pay off a lot of debt he racked up before she realized he was not handling finances well. She also is concerned about their thirtysomething adult S who works at Costco 5000+ miles away.</p>

<p>Both families are having a lot of stresses and strains. Neiher has LTC insurance or significant assets that can help cover the care and expenses that are projected, nor the ability to quit work to take care of these responsibilities. These are very challenging times for them and other similar families. Many of us could be in their shoes or end up similarly situated.</p>

<p>So sorry to hear that, HImom. I totally understand, as U cared for my dad for 7 years, long distance, as he did not want to leave his home (the one that is currently on the market and I am still managing long distance). It is not easy. Thoughts are with you and your friends.</p>

<p>My husband and I recently purchased a LTC policy for the reasons you mentioned. My mother in law has Parkinsons with Lewy bodies. Hopefully her funds will last until she dies. We were fortunate in that her husband left her well provided for. Her LTC policy is a blessing to all of us. It doesn't cover everything but it helps a lot. We bought a policy that has shared coverage. My husband and I can take years away from one anothers plan. Each of us has five years but if I need three more, I can take them from his plan for a total of eight. Of course he would only have two but the chances of both of us needing five a piece is not great.</p>

<p>I have been thinking about this a lot lately. I never liked the term, as I felt that our parents, and their parents had certainly taken care of their elders, while raising their children. What I have come to realize is that our parents are living much longer in more fragile states. </p>

<p>Please don't misunderstand, I am happy my folks are alive, but I also realize that the period that my grandparents needed care was much, much shorter. I have mentioned this many time before, but I am the primary person for five senior citizens - ranging in age from 82 - 91. There is no way I thought they would all still be alive at this point. As I approach my 60th birthday, I can't help but wonder if DH and I will ever have a time when we can plan extended travels. We used to talk about moving when our D graduated from college and finding part-time jobs in a new location, but that is just not going to happen. I can't move five senior citizens! I am not bitter or resentful, I am just trying to adjust my expectations.</p>

<p>worknprogress2....</p>

<p>I understand...and I think you have a good attitude...</p>

<p>Every situation is different, so we shouldn't judge how everyone deals with their aging parents. My dad had a heart attack at 65 and suffered significant brain damage do to oxygen deprivation. Given my parents had little liquid assets (house was excluded), he qualified for Medicaid. After he recovered, he was nearly physically as strong as before, he just had no short term memory. He was placed in an excellent nearby nursing home in the 'lock-down' since he had a tendency to 'arrange' trips for himself and the other residents to go bowling or to sporting events. Most of the other residents of that ward had dementia.</p>

<p>Not only medically, but financially too. My mother has been requiring some financial assistance because the beating her investments have taken the last few years. And I still have a elementary aged child. We are fortunate to be able to give what she needs but I wish she would just move in. It would be cheaper.</p>

<p>This tugs at all of our heartstrings. My life changed significantly when I had to take over primary caregiver responsibility for my dad (apologies for typo above, I meant "I", not "U"). Not only does this change our lives, our travel, oru finances, but also significantly changes our family dynamics as we parent our parents and frequently deal with siblngs who are not helpful or not on the same page. </p>

<p>Those of you who have good relationships with your siblings and/or who have siblings who help share the responsibility, count your blessings. My sibling, when he was involved, which was not often, only made matters worse. Never offered to help or lift a finger- just tried to bark orders or manipulate. Very unpleasant.</p>

<p>Thankfully, my in-laws were savers and owned a house that they were able to sell and roll 50% the proceeds into an excellent independent/assisted living facility and keep the rest in savings to fund the steep monthly charges. THere are several kids and my H is probably the least involved, but we live the farthest away and 2 siblings are quite involved, so he tends to keep quiet, as there doesn't need to be more 'cooks in the kitchen'.</p>

<p>My father passed away, I was diagnosed with breast cancer, my sister was then diagnosed with cervical cancer, my soph in college son brought my mother to live with me at 97 years of age, an 8000 mile trip, I took care of her as I went through cancer treatment, I hired a live-in since it was financially possible in this location and continued with my job. All's well that ends well. My mother passed away in my arms at 98, my son graduated from college, got married and they both have great jobs, my sis and I are on the mend, close to 5 years and counting our blessings. I never watch a person pushing their elderly parents to doctor's appointments in a wheelchair that I would stop my car and help if at all possible. I have been there, done that, appreciate the hard work and tears involved! But it passes. Like everything else. Do what you can. It lives with you forever.</p>

<p>Jym....that is my biggest piece of gratitude in my life. My sister and I are on the same page with our mom. She travels and live a bit further away but we make it all work and we are at peace with each other. We know where mom will live when and if it gets to that point. Having smaller children tends to compound the issue but having adult children can make it worse too. You have to wonder when you are thrown into a caregiver situation how many adults in your life can see you drowning but don't throw the life boat.</p>

<p>NJ - that is the best thing your DH can do. The toughest is when you have someone who is a "second guesser" who conveys that IF they had done something it would have been handled much better. </p>

<p>One lesson I have learned from these past few years is that unless I can pitch in with a situation, or unless I am asked for advice in advance, I will NEVER tell someone what they SHOULD have done.</p>

<p>Bless you, Overseas. Your post gave me chills. I don't want to have any regrets. I want to do what I can to help. Although when my dad is being ornery...........</p>

<p>overseas...that is one hell of a time...</p>

<p>I am glad you got through it...</p>

<p>It is hard enough to go through this healthy...</p>

<p>My parents still maintain two homes (summer and winter). I hope and pray their savings don't give out before they do (longevity runs in both bloodlines). My siblings live closer to them than I do, and they bear the brunt of their shenanigans and foibles, for which I am forever indebted. It's getting harder now for everybody though.</p>

<p>Work, Ornery, like, throwing menus, stashing booze in the garage...yes, been there and pulled in the preacher to set my father a rights. Getting old is not for sissies! In the end his death could have been a hollywood movie. He did it right, gave up drink, got sweet, cared for his wife. Ornery can change! :)</p>

<p>We can only hope!</p>

<p>I do know that much of his cantankerous ways stem from his realization that he is losing control. So - much like a teenager who wants to stake their independence, dad makes really poor decisions to exert himself. </p>

<p>One thing someone told me and it has come to bear in my situation, is that as adult children we tend to be relegated to our roles as teenagers. Dad and I fought like crazy during those years, his Archie to my Gloria. And now, when I manage all his appointments and meet with doctors, he LIKES me to be there, but he still resorts to treating me like an incompetent ditz. Fortunately, I DO have a great sense of humor and an appreciation of the ridiculousness. When I am in the middle of a silent power struggle with him, I always think how it will be a great story when I get home.</p>

<p>We have four parents in their 80's living nearby, all still living independently, all with enough financial resources to pay for care. But I'm waiting in dread for the other shoe to drop when they're not able to manage independently. </p>

<p>After reading the New York Times blog "The New Old Age" for months, I bought and read
"A Bittersweet Season: Caring for Our Aging Parents--and Ourselves" by Jane Gross, one of the blog authors. She relays her journey through her mother's loss of independence, from moving her mother into assisted living to her death three years later. She is utterly unsparing in describing the things that she and her brother did wrong, the things she regrets. She writes about how she ended up spending hundreds of dollars on a consulting phone call with a geriatric care manager one night because she was so overwhelmed. And there's lots of practical advice too, like how you should keep an extra set of the parent's glasses in the car, and also write down where you parked the car...because if you're rushing over to the hospital, you're not thinking straight anyway. And a quick introduction to the concept of spending down assets to qualify for Medicaid. It all looks overwhelming.</p>

<p>worknprogress,
You are braver than I! And better and kinder, and so on...</p>

<p>My situation involves four other sibs. and a lot of competition. My family feels more like a lacrosse game, and I do not even know how to or want to learn how to play!
And good ol' Dad is in there roiling it up, as Mom did until she left this world last year. They bickered constantly, and I can see that he tends to use me for that as I am his only female child, so I am kind of done, as pathetic and selfish as that sounds. The context is that the other sibs are competing to please him, so it is their turn (my care and attention and support as the oldest has gone on in various ways for a long while)...</p>

<p>Good ol' Dad really needs a watch on him, but he is living alone (a plane ride and two hours of driving away from all his children) and wants to stay that way. In true top dog/curmudgeon form, he is resisting the suggestions of Medi-Alert system, in spite of his multiple health issues.
Could any of you pass along your experiences with Necklace Medical Event Alert thingies?</p>

<p>My folks are 82 & 87 and could easily live another 20 years. They are both pretty healthy and dad's sister is a bit over 90. Mom & dad live together in the huge rambling house we grew up in--it was cozy when there were 9 of us but pretty huge for just the 2 of them. Fortunately, all 7 of us live fairly close to mom & dad (about 2-5 miles, with one person living 20+ miles away). </p>

<p>So far, they are in excellent health and dad still works full-time or close to it & enjoys his work. Auntie lives alone about 20 miles from our home because she can't and won't sort through her stuff in her home. </p>

<p>She recently fell and was admitted to the ER after my brother had to break into her house because she had so many locks on her door that no one could get in that way, even though she had given her key out to a few people. </p>

<p>We got her a medical alert-type bracelet or something that can sense when you fall. She's had several false alarms so far but otherwise is fiercely indepenent and has cut back on the hours of the person that her son found to come in to clean & visit with her as unneeded. We found the bracelet by asking my cousin who is a nurse who helps arrange such things with seniors. It's staffed by a local company who will call if the button is pushed or it senses a fall.</p>

<p>(Her grown son who just became an empty-nester lives alone in a 4 bedroom home 5000 miles away (Berkeley). Her only other child also lives alone in a 5 bedroom home 5000 miles away as well (Pasadena). They only make fleeting flying visits as both are working full-time.)</p>