Tootzypop Classics: We’re saying goodbye to 2012 and ushering in 2013 with a celebration of some of the year’s most read posts. This post originally ran on July 11, 2012. We’ll be back with new, original posts on Monday, January 7. Enjoy!
I’m the parent of a pre-teen and the daughter of a man who is quickly losing his memory. So I guess this makes me part of the “sandwich generation,” a term coined in the 1990s for those who are simultaneously caring for their children and elderly parents.
Responsibility-wise, my son and dad are the same age. The only difference is that one has cash and a car.
This realization came to me a couple of weeks ago, when I left the two of them together. I gave my son specific instructions to engage my dad in something in which they both have an interest – photography. Instead, they went out to lunch and watched TV until I got back. Frankly, I’m surprised they didn’t eat junk food and break out the video games.
They each respond to my requests (sometimes demands) with the same attitude, whether it be asking my son to do some chore or asking my dad to take his medication. I get the same eye rolling and sometimes a snippy remark. It is sometimes frustrating to deal with them, but I have to remind myself that they’re not doing it on purpose. I’m dealing with hormones for one and early dementia for the other. The stages of their lives are intersecting and I am the traffic cop.
But, I’m one of the lucky ones, I have great family and friends for support. I also know that the two of them have a great relationship, which I hope my son will remember for many years.
Cherish the time you have with the generations on either side of you. And, if possible, have your children spend time with your parents (but don’t be surprised if they gang up on you).
Tags: Alzheimers, dementia, memory loss, parenting, pre-teen, responsibility, sandwich generation