Money in the Middle

Sandwich Generation Talking About Money Up, Down and Across Generations

3 Tips for Mothers Caregiving Mothers

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As we approach Mother’s Day, many of us find ourselves providing care or assistance for our mother. 

It might be every day in our home, or weekly check in calls from afar; or providing financial support or just more frequent check-in visits.   If the research is right, most of us didn’t see it coming, there was a crisis involved –and we still may be moving through periods of calm and crisis. 

As caregivers – or whatever word we use to describe our new duties – we’re juggling our own life at the same time which could include the demands of work, kids, and partner/spouse.  Sandwich generation.

 It’s exhilarating – sometimes – and exhausting– most times. 

But one thing I know to be true, most of us are wondering (out loud or to ourselves) how do I keep this from happening to me as I age?  Will my children face the same burden in caring for me?  

And while I am blessed with a very healthy mother that was not true with my father and that round of caregiving took its toll – and taught me a couple of lessons.  And now my mother and I are blazing a new relationship as we live in the same area for the first time in 35 years.  

There’s a very poignant article in the New York Times about the growing number of Alzheimer’s patients and the challenges wandering brings.

 So here are three suggestions for what you can do today to better prepare for tomorrow. 

1.  If you are a mother, caring for a mother, get some help and take a break on Mother’s Day– for yourself and for your family.  I know that can be challenging financially, but breaking for even a bit from the rigor of caregiving is essential.  You may even want to spend the day with Mom, but for once let someone else take on the caregiving and worrying. 

2.  Plan for your own long-term care needs.  No matter how scary it might be, sit down and start working on a plan.  How you want to receive care, where, from whom, how will it be paid for?

 3.  Talk to your children about your long-term care plans. If they are in their teens or 20s or 30s–they see what is going on, what you are going through and are wondering what’s in store for them.  As a society we tend to shy away from talking about money and about such things as long-term care and death.  Yet, what a gift it is to your children to know that you have thought about this and have plans and resources.

The fact is that women live longer than men.  They need more financial resources to make it through a longer life.  And they are likely to need some assistance as they age.  We’re still all trying to figure out what longevity means to us as caregivers or as one being cared for. 

So if you are a mother caring for a mother, remember to take some time for yourself this Mother’s Day. As they tell you on the airplane, put your mask on first so that you are able to help those around you.

Happy Mother’s Day.

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Written by Laura Rossman

May 5, 2010 at 8:40 pm

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