Between the constant worrying a parent has for their children and young grandchildren, there is now the increasing worry we now have for our aging parents. It never dawned on me that this would become a concern. Growing up, our elderly grandparents lived nearby. Mine were in the same apartment building, and we saw them regularly. One parent was at home raising the kids, overseeing the household and tending to the grandparents’ needs. When they got old, they went to a nursing home.

Boy, have things changed! Now there are dual-income families, grown children living at home longer and elderly parents who refuse to go to a nursing home. We offer them assisted living communities with wonderful activities and independent living with supportive services, but they insist on independence in their own apartment! We don’t seem to remember the day that we realized our parent’s health needed constant managing. We are no longer cooking dinner for ourselves and our husbands. We decide to cook our favorite meals for the masses so our grandchildren can take home pre packaged nutritious food to make our working children’s lives easier and also for our parents so they don’t forget to eat balanced meals and don’t have to go through the process of cooking at home for one. This is easier said than done.

What about being there for everyone doctor’s appointment? There is no longer just the yearly physical we have to worry about. We want to be there for every milestone for our children and their childrens’ lives-like their babies’ 1 year check up and the first time our grandchild goes to the dentist. On top of that we need a separate calendar to manage our parents’ appointments. Yes, it is an outing, but do they need to see every single doctor every month? Between the podiatrist, the gastroenterologist, the cardiologist, the nephrologist, the rheumatologist…someone is bound to find something wrong with you! Then they request a laundry list of advanced tests to let us know that our 88 year old father has in fact a low bone density and should continue on his vitamin D supplements that he has been taking for the last 10 years. Thank you very much. And we are reminded by our parents that Medicare has covered the cost of everything. Isn’t it amazing that this has kept them busy for two and a half weeks….and don’t forget we start this process again next month. We wonder why the health care system is in trouble?

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