Caught Between Aging Parents And Adult Children – Red Bluff Daily News

A nice new assisted living complex is under construction near my home. As beautiful as this place is, it has become a daily reminder of how difficult it is to talk to aging parents about their health and future needs.

If you’re 40 or older, you’re part of the sandwich generation, which refers to middle-aged people who feel pressured to support both aging parents and adult children. You probably fall into one of these categories:


Those who are caught between the needs of aging parents, relatives or friends while supporting and meeting the demands of their own children, spouses and careers.


Those in their fifties or sixties sandwiched between aging parents, adult children and grandchildren. Or, those in their 30s and 40s with young children, elderly parents and grandparents.


Those whose adult and post-graduate children return home to live with their parents for lack of jobs, leadership and / or money. Also known as “boomerangs”.


Anyone else involved in the care of the elderly on one side and others in need of support on the other.

Of those of my husband and friends, I would estimate that at least half are caring for elderly parents or caring for adult children and grandchildren. And, in most cases, some or all of them have moved in with them.

Surveys suggest that today’s baby boomers (adults born 1946 to 1964) are likely to spend more years caring for a parent than raising, caring for and supporting themselves. children. And nowadays, parents take care of their children for at least 20 years.

In the same way that a visit to the dental hygienist can avoid a painful procedure later, a conversation with your parents about aging will be worth it to help you preserve a future that you both can manage. The longer you wait to talk to them about the future, the fewer options you’ll have and the more it can cost to provide them with the care they need.

The way you approach the subject will have a huge effect on your parents’ willingness to accept your help. Here are some guidelines to help you start this conversation:


Don’t miss an opportunity to talk about the future. Listen to your parents and ask questions. Avoid telling them what to do, although it may be tempting. Start the conversation sooner rather than later.


Your parents bit the collective tongue for years while they looked after you. Now it’s your turn to be patient and give them time to think about their alternatives. Important decisions will not be made over the course of a phone call.


Don’t expect quick answers to your questions. It is perhaps one of the most difficult seasons of their lives. Give them time to process, reflect and meditate.


Don’t make assumptions. Above all, don’t confuse indecision with lack of interest. You can be pretty sure that they’ve been thinking about it a lot longer than you have. But it’s easy to put it off when the future seems so distant.


It’s okay if you don’t know what you’re doing. Your willingness to help your parents is a big step. Dare to ask for help.


Don’t lose your sense of humor. It will keep you happy and sane for years to come.

Mary invites questions, comments and advice on, “Ask Mary a Question” or c / o Everyday Cheapskate, 12340 Seal Beach Blvd., Suite B-416, Seal Beach, CA 90740.

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