Parenting Our Parents
The Best of Times|February 2021
A Look Inside the Sandwich Generation
CLAIRE YEZBAK FADDEN

The week I placed my 82-year-old mother in an assisted-living retirement home was the same week my five-year-old son started kindergarten. The decision to move Mom out of her home was made after months of agonizing discussions with my brothers and sister. Reluctant to take any of Mom’s independence away from her, we spent hours and hours researching the various options.

As time went on, it became increasingly apparent that she wasn’t able to properly and safely care for herself the way she had done for decades. We were in agreement that the woman who had raised us and easily told us what to do, couldn’t live alone any longer. But what was the best solution? We discussed everything from Mom moving in with one of us (a choice she would never go for) to having someone live with her to moving her to a residential care facility.

Increasingly adult children are faced with this same situation. Sandwiched between generations, couples in their 30s and 40s, and even 50s still in the throws of raising their families, are having to make decisions for aging parents. In fact, nearly one in four households in the U.S. are caring for an older parent or relative. We are descriptively called “The Sandwich Generation” – feeling pushed from two sides – caring for our own children and finding ourselves a parent to Mom and Dad.

After months of investigation, we found the perfect assisted-care facility. Mom has her own room, all her medications are administered, she has daily interaction with lots of people, her meals are provided for and there is someone available 24 hours a day (if she needs anything). The environment is stimulating, and the residents are cared for lovingly. I wanted to provide these things for my mother. With the challenges of raising three children and caring for a husband, I wasn’t able to do all of them by myself. For my situation, residential care was an answer to a prayer.

Becoming your parent’s parent may seem like a tremendous mountain to climb. You may feel that you are all alone. However, there are millions of Generation X, Millennials and even Baby Boomers providing both and financial support to their parents, while raising their own children emotional. There are many local and national resources to make the quest easier. Take the time and do the research. You’ll then be able to make informed choices. After all, mom and dad made the best choices for us when we couldn’t do it for ourselves. Here’s how to return that favor.

Where To Start

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