My parents and my in-laws are getting older. My mother-in-law just died last year after suffering tremendously from dementia for many, many years. Dementia; Alzheimer’s – whatever you want to call it, it is a horrible disease. It is an interesting study of contrasts. My parents are more like me (or me like them??) — anal and organized. My husband’s parents are more like him — free-spirited and focusing on the here and now. Both personality traits have their advantages and both have their disadvantages. When it comes to aging, however, being anal and organized tends to be the better approach.
None of us want to age. Some of us never age mentally but try as we might, we will all age physically. And it is a tough process. One of the toughest junctures in aging is when the parent must admit that they need more help from their children than their children need from them. Caring for an aging parent is difficult. It is difficult mentally, physically, and financially.
An estimated 30 million Americans are providing care, for free, to someone over the age of 50, but they’ve barely begun to realize how common or widespread their new role is. And they often feel alone and unsure of what they are doing. Caring for elderly parents involves maneuvering in the murky worlds of medicine, law, hospitals, nursing homes, guilt, fear and family ties.
There are many resources on the web offering advice and information on dealing with aging parents. Like most information on the web, however, it tends to be scattered here, there and everywhere. We have gathered the best videos we could find on the topic of aging parents at www.lipstickwisdom.com. As usual, the availability of personalized stories featuring individuals with advice to offer from having lived through the experience is limited. NBC Nightly News did an outstanding series during 2007 on Aging Parents called “Trading Places” that featured the personal situations of Brian Williams, Dr. Nancy Snyderman, Ann Curry, Tom Brokaw and Tim Russert. It was one of their most popular series ever.
In addition to the NBC Nightly News “Trading Places” series, we have gather videos introducing two movies (which have to be purchased elsewhere), “The Sandwich Generation” and “Surviving Parents”, which chronicle two families’ journeys with their aging parents offering their insights and advice from the emotional to the practical. Videos from experts on the website offer caregiver resources and information on long term care, geriatric care managers, home care and how to best communicate with your parents. We hope the resources we have gathered are helpful in navigating the journey. If you know of videos, articles or other resources that you think would be helpful, please send them to me in either the comment area of the aging section or in the feedback area of the blog itself.