> Being There, and Far Away
> By ANNE C. ROARK
> When my parents were in their 50s — the age I am now — my father > told me not to do for them what they had done for their parents: > become their caregiver when they were old.
> Years of responding to the needs of four elderly parents had taken > a toll, especially on my mother. To protect me from a similar fate, > my father told me that if the time came that he and my mother could > no longer live alone, I should find a retirement community or > nursing home for them far enough away to keep family visits to a > minimum. Caring for an aging parent, my father insisted, is a duty > best discharged from afar.
> What my father didn’t understand is that whether one lives next > door or across the country, the responsibility for elderly parents > never goes away. Caring from afar is no easier than being there. It > is simply different. On-site hands-on caregivers are like day > laborers who do the actual physical work. Distant caregivers are > like off-site managers who coordinate services and delegate > responsibilities. Both have their roles and points of high stress.
> By PAULA SPAN > “Children are a good insurance policy,” said Merril Silverstein, a > prominent gerontologist at the University of Southern California. > “In some other countries, that’s why people have children. Here, > though it’s less certain, it’s still a pretty good bet.”
> For Ms. Logan and others in her situation, the research on > childlessness should bring both angst and comfort. For starters, > seniors without children do have higher rates of > institutionalization. Historically, childlessness “has been a > consistent predictor of whether you end up in a nursing home,” Dr. > Silverstein said.
> It shouldn’t be that way, argued Debra Umberson, a sociologist at > the University of Texas at Austin, who has written about > childlessness and parenthood: “We shouldn’t have to have kids who > work for us for free so we don’t have to go to a nursing home.” > Is Home Always So Sweet?
> By PAULA SPAN > “People who see nobody from day to day, or see only their > caretakers, can become incredibly isolated,” Ms. Modigliani pointed > out. “We know that can lead to depression. Seniors’ cognitive > skills decline if they have less interaction with people.” these are recent excerpts from a NYT series, ‘the new old age’. they are describing two sides of the same coin, the phenomenon of people living longer, and requiring either expensive nursing care, or cheap caregiving by their families, typically an older daughter who has to give up everything, or juggle multiple responsibilities. this is a topic most people avoid, until it suddenly hits them in the gut. not to harsh anyone’s buzz, but this is real. millions of us deal with it every day, and probably you will, too. does anyone else see anything wrong with this picture?