As with OTHER major life events, such as marriage, childbirth, or starting a business, caring for aging parents is a process that most cannot fully appreciate until they are walking through it. It would take an enormous amount of emotional intelligence to anticipate the real magnitude of this bittersweet time in life. True empathy is such a rare quality in people; it seems to be reserved for extraordinary individuals, like Mother Teresa. Furthermore, it is the nature of the human condition that each generation learns for itself rather than heeding the lessons of those who have lived before them.
Yet we have a marked advantage over our parents: We live in the Information Age, in which everything we could possibly need to prepare and plan for the modern challenges of aging is right at our fingertips. Legal ramifications, health considerations, financial concerns, insurance, housing—the process is overwhelming, and it affects almost everyone, since most will be responsible for the care of an elderly family member, partner or friend at some point in their lives. As baby boomers retire at the rate of thousands per day and life expectancy continues to climb—now 81 years for women and 76 for men—we all are well-advised to take an aggressive approach in planning our future.
It seems perfectly logical that one could study a publication like Caring for our Parents, Caring for Ourselves (recently published by LBI, the parent company of inRegister and mailed with the October issue), then make a plan and execute it. But caring for our parents is rarely logical. Uncomfortable feelings like fear and guilt get in the way, as do life’s unpredictable circumstances. One of the hardest things we will face in this life is the emotional toll that parental role reversal takes on everyone in the family. How do you tell the person who cared for you so many years that they now need assistance in caring for themselves?
To those in middle age: The time to plan for your own golden years is now. A word of advice to the fairer sex: Be kind to other women. It is likely that in later years you will be playing cards, golf, tennis and traveling with your girlfriends. At age 85 there will be twice as many of you as there are men.
If we are the Sandwich Generation, then like the women you will meet in this month’s cover story, many of us are double-deckers. The key here is to be more like the lean roast beef than the baloney. Caring for the caregiver is just as important as caring for the young child, and we must remember to put our oxygen masks on first. The amazing women in our cover story will inspire and amaze you. They manage to juggle families and careers while keeping themselves healthy, physically and emotionally. Their advice? Take it one day at a time.
It seems almost everything we do in south Louisiana comes back around to food or a food analogy. In this month’s Entertaining, inRegister makes the short trip north to revisit a favorite weekend getaway, Lake Rosemound. We get in touch with our Spanish roots as we join Le Chaîne de Rôtisseurs for an afternoon in the country. The sumptuous spread will leave you longing for flamenco lessons and googling flights to Madrid.
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