How to Deal with Your Aging Parents,
While Enriching Your Own Life
When I was 47, my life changed with one phone call. My mother had suffered a serious stroke. She remained mentally and physically sound, but she was stricken with aphasia, a condition that causes some of her sentences to veer into incoherence.
I took a leave from my job--"temporarily." I moved in with my parents, five hundred miles away, to help my father care for her.
Four months later, my dad suffered a stroke even more devastating than my mom's. He remained mentally sound, but he developed a mild case of aphasia. Â Worse, he was paralyzed on the right side.
I was now responsible for caring for both my parents. Nothing in my previous experience as a writer or college professor had prepared me for the challenges and burdens now falling on me.
I joined those millions of Americans who are suddenly required to care for their parents. For my generation, this is one of the biggest issues in our lives. The senior population is rapidly increasing, and now we face the prospect of caring for ill, disabled, or even demented parents in their homes or in our own homes, perhaps for years to come.
Any person who is compassionate, open-minded, and good-humored can become a successful caregiver. But when I started, I didn't think I could do it. In fact, it's been the hardest thing I've ever attempted. Now I'm amazed at how much I do for my parents every day. Despite the fact that I've had to learn eldercare without any previous experience in caregiving or geriatrics, the past three and a half years have been the most exciting, gratifying, and transformative period of my life.
With more and more people caring for infirm parents, I've decided to use my experience to help others. The result is a book calledÂ THE SURVIVOR: How to Deal with Your Aging Parents, While Enriching Your Own Life.
--Robert Clark Young