by John Lynch
One year after launching Lexington Family Magazine in 1997, I entered the Sandwich Generation.
Our son Jack was 6 when I learned from my mother’s neighbor in Pennsylvania that Mom had health problems.
Widowed for eight years, she had become forgetful, often refused to eat and could no longer drive safely.
Stunned, I called her doctor. Bea was showing signs of dementia, he said.
Working long distance, I hastily arranged for a caregiver to visit my mother daily. Within days, the caregiver called.
“Your mother can’t live by herself anymore,” the caregiver said. “She needs to move into a home.”
“When?” I asked.
Suddenly, we had to learn the ins and outs of long-term care, the difference between Medicare and Medicaid and the best treatments for dementia.
By the end of a frantic day on the phone, we got lucky. The retirement community where my mom volunteered agreed to accept her.
When my family and I visited, we went to Mom’s house to gather some of her belongings. I was shocked by the conditions.
I hadn’t realized how far things had deteriorated. I felt sad that she had been living this way.
Because I was so unprepared, for the final 18 months of her life – Bea died in 1999 at age 72 – I spent too much time attending to the details of her
care and not enough caring for her, talking with her and learning as much as I could about her.
I’ve heard similar stories from others – the stress of caregiving is burdened by a feeling of being unprepared.
That’s the reason Lexington Family Magazine started the Elder Care Tour. The 16th annual event is Sunday, Nov. 13, 1:30-5 p.m.
This is your chance to be prepared. So start your research now.
Some day – and that could be tomorrow – you will be glad you did.