Since Jan. 1, more than 10,000 baby boomers a day turned 65. This pattern will continue for the next 19 years, according to the Pew Research Center.
With these astounding numbers, many of us are confronted with and are caring for aging and elderly parents. Those of us with siblings are sharing in the responsibilities, which too can be a challenge. Yet there’s hope, and this hope is manifested beyond our frustrations.
A boomer recently shared with me a few of the challenges she and her husband face in caring for her elderly parents.
“My husband and I are retired and facing family issues,” Diane Boomershire of Dayton wrote. “My husband and I travel two hours twice a week to see that my parents have what they need.”
Boomershire says her parents’ finances are drained, and that she feels her parents aren’t getting the same support from other family members who live close by or their longtime friends.
I am sure many of us have seen people come and go in our lives as soon as high-pressure issues arise. Most of us love it when all is well, but when major problems surface and do not go away soon, too many of us disappear.
Boomershire, challenged to find time, went on to say: “I am sure this is not the first time a family has been faced with this issue. This is a challenge for us remaining children being sandwiched between helping with grandchildren, caring for parents who are in their 80s, alone overwhelmed with the helplessness, while trying to find time for our golden years.”
Readers have a message of hope and offer resources to assist Boomershire and others in similar conditions:
The 50-50 Rule
“You are not alone. Ideally in families, children split the responsibilities for their parents’ care equally (at Home Instead Senior Care, we call this the 50-50 Rule). But all too often, one sibling winds up taking on the lion’s share. Even if you and your family can’t see eye-to-eye, your parents’ welfare is the top priority. Try to put aside your differences if your siblings will agree to check in on your parents at scheduled times and communicate their findings with the rest of the family. Encourage your parents to spend what money they have on making their lives easier, whether it’s hiring some help or setting up a fund for their essentials and bills. This will ease your mind and ensure that what’s left stays where it belongs. You can’t do much about the past, but you pick up the pieces and change the future. For more information, visit solvingfamilyconflict.com.” — David Roediger, owner, Home Instead Senior Care of Dayton
Focus on what you can control
“My suggestion would be to forgive and extend love and compassion and focus on what you can do to assist your parents and your grandchildren. I also face a similar challenge with a parent who lives in a nursing home. Instead of focusing on the other siblings who live closer to the parent, I turn my attention to spending time with the parent, loving and ensuring his basic needs are met. Best wishes to you.” — Karen O’Neal, Cedarville
Remember, nothing is impossible
Remember, we are carriers of a faith-filled hope. We have the power from within in spite of what anyone may or may not do to reach toward changing our circumstances. Nothing is impossible with our God as we allow him to work through renewing our perspectives. He will lead and guide us peacefully to resources and others to lighten the emotional load. God’s unfailing love and our love for him will empower us to do what we can do and trust that all things will work together for our good.
Tonya Lee Carrie Fancher is founder and artistic director of God’s Freedom fighters Int. Inc. A non-profit 501-c3 ministry: Fighting for the liberty of high risk teens through mentorship. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org