Following is a three-sentence excerpt from my upcoming book, A LONG AND WINDING ROAD: A Caregiver’s Tale of Life, Love, and Chaos:
I’m now in a situation shared by many Boomers. I’ve become my parents’ primary caregiver and have slowly reversed roles with them. Over the past two years, I’ve become the parent and they have become The Kids.
After Mom and Dad came to live with us, I often referred to them as The Kids, especially in my writing and also in our caregiver support group. It was meant as a loving epithet, and it seemed to be accepted as such. But this morning I was reading an article on AgingCare.com titled “14 Phrases to Live By in 2014,” and this one caught my eye:
Our parents are always our parents. No matter how helpless our parents become, they are not our children. Bodies may fail. Minds may deteriorate. Neither of these conditions erases the legacy of the elder’s life. Treating an elder with dignity will, in the end, help the caregiver as well as the care receiver if only because the elder will likely sense the respect and try to live up to it.
I did my best to treat Mom and Dad with the dignity they deserved as my parents and to make decisions based on what I thought they would want if they still had the ability to make those decisions. But because of my own feelings and frustrations, I might have been less respectful than I should have been. I mulled it over for a while and decided to ask my readers what you think.
A LONG AND WINDING ROAD, A Caregiver’s Tale of Life, Love, and Chaos will be released by Anaiah Press on July 1.