Remembering new needs of older parents

Posted 8/11/18

To The Editor: According to the U.S. Census Bureau, America’s 65-and-older population is projected to nearly double to 88 million by 2050.  What does that mean for everyone? More children will …

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Remembering new needs of older parents


To The Editor:

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, America’s 65-and-older population is projected to nearly double to 88 million by 2050. 

What does that mean for everyone? More children will be switching roles with their parents.

I am a member of Generation X, or as some call it, the Baby Buster Generation. This generation consists of people born from the mid-1960s to the mid-70s. Members of our generation fortunate enough to still have their parents, or at least one of their parents, are now entering the role-reversal stage.

It is now time for us to step up as Baby Busters and begin caring for our Baby Boomer parents. No, this process will not always be an easy one, but sometimes it's a necessary one.

As parents get older, attempts to hold on to all their independence can be at odds with your opinions. They want to be cared about, but not cared for. I am sure that it is a very uncomfortable and scaring thing for our parents to not feel 100 percent in control any longer. It is up to us to be patient and understanding during this adjustment to their new way of life.

It’s a whole new way of life for us, as well. As our parents worried about us when we hit the road after receiving our driver’s license, we now are concerned about their driving abilities. Will their reaction time be fast enough or what if it gets dark before they can make it home, among other concerns?

Other simple daily activities may need a bit of supervision, like the confusing paperwork we are sometimes required to fill out. You may catch yourself scrutinizing the situation when they have trouble remembering if it’s Monday or Tuesday, or the 15th or 16th. In your mind, you catch yourself analyzing the stumble. Was it a simple mistake or is it a prelude to something far more serious?

This new way of life can be used as a chance to develop a stronger emotional connection to your parent. For the parent, having a child around to spend time with and provide care, may make a difference in their quality of life. This time spent with your parent can be a true blessing. 

Think of others who are not as fortunate as you — those who will never be given the chance to care for their parents because they have already lost them.

There is, unfortunately, another side to this story — the parents who have been all but abandoned by their family. It is very heartbreaking to witness the sadness and loneliness of these parents. Children too busy in their own life to notice their suffering. It is not an expensive gift they want from their children. They only want a little of their time and their love, which both are free.

Showing your love for them goes a long way in making them happier and healthier. Drop in and check on them. Spend some time with them. Be there for them, as they were there for you.

“Something which means nothing to you … can mean everything to someone else.”

— Angela Wilson-Crielaard

Old Fort


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