People are living longer these days and their children, with demanding jobs and lives of their own, often find themselves unexpectedly in a role-reversal, not just caring for their own growing children, but also for their aging parents. This position can cause many new caregivers to retreat into denial until a crisis hits.
Jacqueline Marcel is the author of Elder Rage or Take My Father….Please…! A successful television executive, her parents began to decline into dementia in their eighties. It was when she visited their home one weekend and found it in an utter mess and her father irrational and angry, that she knew she needed to intervene. But her new role as caregiver was not met with acceptance from her father whose illness and the loss of his independence caused him to be filled with rage.
Jacqueline Marcel is like many baby-boomers who find themselves caught unawares when their parent’s age and begin to lose their mental or physical faculties.
The United States Census Bureau puts the number of Americans over 85 increasing five-fold over the next 40 years. With the size of families shrinking and members living separately in far-flung states, it becomes of question of who will care for the parent and how they will care for them.
Although many eventualities might be unknown, Sherry Jerome says there are things that can be done now to prepare including having advanced directives and a living will in place, planning the family finances for old age and understanding the variety of care services available.
Jacqueline Marcel says she would have things very differently if she had access to information before her father reached the crisis point.