Monday, October 31, 2011

I am Traditional

Traditional, that’s funny to me when I think of traditional I think of the middle income conservative family of four a dog and living out the American dream, a vacation once a year, a nice home, a new car every 5 years or so. Well, in some ways that is me, in others it is not. You see I started my journey of living in the middle over twenty years ago. Come to think of it my grandparents lived with us for a while but I think that was mostly to help my mom as she single parented me and my brother. Before my husband and I met his grandmother was a big part of his life and she had spent many a Sunday with him going to church and then on to Furr’s cafeteria for fried okra and the rest of the yumminess on that buffet. Things changed when she became mostly homebound and my husband was encouraged to visit another church to meet people (singles) his own age. Anyway over twenty years ago we had the opportunity to live with his grandmother and help to care for her by being there in case she fell and cooking meals for her. That did not go well. Come to find out his grandmother and I are a lot alike. Word to the wise do not begin your marriage (or the first 5 years or so) by having to care for someone other than each other. 

So between then and about ten years ago we were able to live our lives as normal twenty and thirty somethings. You know get a good paying job, buy a house, get a truck, have babies. Yes, in that order because we had a plan. Then my dad got the big C yes, that’s right cancer. He needed help and me being the oldest and having the best relationship with him I took him to his appointments. Oh yeah, I had a two year old then. My in laws stepped right up. They said they could keep my child anytime I needed to take my dad anywhere. What a blessing they were to me during that time. They had a blast with their newest grandchild and that grandchild loved every minute they spent together. Well, my dad waited too long to see a doctor about his condition and while I was pregnant with our second child he went to be with the Lord.

Now we are really in the middle. My in laws have gotten slower over the past ten years and have had some medical issues (strokes) that have made it harder for them to get around. My father in law was the primary caregiver to his wife whom he cherished until he fell and could not recover from his other (unknown to us) medical issues.  So we are helping to take care of my husband’s mother.

Now when I say help that is what I mean. We do not have to do this 24/7 as other families do. What a blessing it is to have a team of family members to care for their mother.

I am struggling to put to words how it is to raise your children, care for an older adult and prioritize time and things that are the most important. That will be another post I’m sure. 

For now I’ll just think on things above.

Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. Colossians 3:2

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Definition of Sandwich Generation

The Sandwich Generation what does that mean?
Wikipedia definition:

The Sandwich Generation is a generation of people who care for their aging parents while supporting their own children.

That is it in a nutshell but it comprises so much more. 

According to the Pew Research Center, just over 1 of every 8 Americans aged 40 to 60 is both raising a child and caring for a parent, in addition to between 7 to 10 million adults caring for their aging parents from a long distance. US Census Bureau statistics indicate that the number of older Americans aged 65 or older will double by the year 2030, to over 70 million.

Carol Abaya categorized the different scenarios involved in being a part of the sandwich generation.

Traditional: those sandwiched between aging parents who need care and/or help and their own children.

Club Sandwich: those in their 50s or 60s sandwiched between aging parents, adult children and grandchildren, or those in their 30s and 40s, with young children, aging parents and grandparents.

Open Faced: anyone else involved in elder care.