What to Do With The Geezers…

My daughter is a R.I.S.E. student. (Research, Investigation, Strategy, um..Elitism.  Ok, I actually forgot what the “E” is for)  No matter.  Here’s the deal.  Twice a week, her and a few other students leave their classrooms, and they get an opportunity to participate in many challenging events.  One of these is Future Problem Solvers.  Apparently, this year’s topic was Cultural Prejudice.  Apparently, her team won at the school and County level.  Now, they head to the State “Bowl.”  There is a brief ceremony on a Friday night (in Lebanon, Tn) and then, the following morning, they are required to show up, and begin a presentation on a new topic.  In one day, heck, by 3:00 that afternoon, they have to address another future problem, offer solutions, (complete with charts and grids and other academic stuff) then they have to perform a skit that is tied to their solution.  The State Bowl’s topic is Caring for Our Elderly.  If they win at the State level, they travel to Fort Collins, Colorado, to participate in the INTERNATIONAL competition.  How cool is that?  I was a little miffed when I heard about all the associated costs, it isn’t that I mind spending the money, but I know the other kids on her team are not from well to do families.  In fact, fresh back from a long vacation in Orlando, we are eating rice and beans and fighting over the leftover beef jerky scraps scattered in the back seat of the 4Runner.  We’ll manage, though.  The State Bowl is 25.00 entry fee, then $25.00 for anyone else that accompanies her.  So, it’s a cool c-note for the family to attend.  Supplies are required, and the cost is supposed to be shared by your teammates’s families.   If they happen to win, I’ll need to take out a second mortgage to fund the trip to Colorado, trust me.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited for her and proud  as can be, but  the  costs seem prohibitive to poor families.

Ah, the Topic.  Caring For Our Elderly.  This one has been on mind alot anyway.  My father died young, but my Mom was healthy as a horse going into her eighties.  Sure, Alzheimers robbed us of some of her, and in the end, she died peacefully in her sleep before her long term care became an issue.  But with the thought of a huge block of Boomers facing retirement, the topic seems right on the money.  I fully expect to see chains of “adult care” facilities popping up everywhere before long, after all, there is a ton of money to be made.  Perhaps I’ll talk about that another day.  My question to both of my readers is this:

Are you in a position to provide shelter and care for aging parents?  Do you want to even take on the responsibility?  

I personally think we have done our elderly a great dis-service, (in fact, I think we also deprive our children the experience of living with our elderly family members) by creating a culture that does not value what they have to offer.  It is my hope that my wife’s parents one day live with us.  We’ve talked about building a small “cottage” next to our house if they would prefer that to living in our home, the idea being that everyone would benefit greatly from this arrangement.  I want my children to see that process of aging, and to experience death of a loved one more intimately than say, the phone call from the retirement home that says, “it’s time.”  Anyway, I’m curious what you think, what you plans have, perhaps what you would like to see for your family, even if you do not have the means.  Care to share?

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11 responses to “What to Do With The Geezers…

  1. Gen Between is a resource.
    Seriously.

    Incidentally, it is really wonderful your daughter is going to be able to participate in this process. Hope she makes it to Colorado.

  2. I am just blown away that your daughter is participating in something like this at her age. She is on her way to becoming an amazing woman of purpose. I’m proud for her and for you. Glad my daughter has someone like her to look up to as an “adopted big sister”. She needs that, and what an amazing girl to look up to.

    For your question. This is extremely difficult to answer here. There are so many dynamics emotionally for me to work through when it comes to if and how it comes time to care for my mother. I would like to believe I could afford to help care for her if she needs it, but the truth is there is no way I could. Hopefully, we will still have Medicare by that time, because that would be the only way. Ugh, so much to say, so little time, so I’ll leave it at that.

    Besides, Mack, you rendered me speechless on my own blog this morning.

  3. My parents are planning on moving to Georgia and inflicting themselves on my brother. I guess I’ve always assumed this will work until my dad dies, in which case, I’ll have to go down and collect my mom and either move her near me or in with me.

    Fathers and sons sometimes have stuff between them wise women know to stay the heck out of. Whatever my dad and my brother want to do to each other through the end of my dad’s life will be hard to watch, but I’ll try to stay out of it.

    And how awesome is your daughter? Maybe y’all ought to be planning for the day when you are living in a little cabin out back of her house, because it sounds like she’s about to take over the world!

  4. Your daughter sounds like she’s involved in some awesome stuff that will further contribute to her greatness.

    As for your question:

    We bought a house with a basement which we’ve finished out to a one-bedroom apartment. We did this under the full expectation that at least one of our three surviving parents will live with us at some time and need extended care.

  5. Kat, are you looking forward to it? No judgements, believe me, I am, but I have young children to help, and we both have extremely flexible schedules.

  6. Mack,

    It depends on which parent… ;-p

    No, seriously, I don’t know if I’d say I was “looking forward” to it, since that implies a bunch of other stuff, like my parents or my mother-in-law being infirm.

    I’d say I’m expecting it, resigned to it and eager to be able to repay their care of me in some small way.

    But I can’t honestly say that I’m just delighted about it happening.

  7. kudos to your daughter. The educational process that evolves into this type of program gives me hope not only for the current state of academia, but also for our future (apparently in the hands of your daughter).

    The boomer aging/home health/home care issue is on the threshold of exploding. I think income disparity has a lot to do on how people will answer this question…ranging from the ability to add on to the house, to the inability to pay for any kind of care service whatsoever.

    My mom is incredibly healthy for a near 80 year old person. She is active, she drives and does pretty much whatever she wants to do. It’s hard for me to imagine needing my help in this way, but reality says that in a few years, I’m going to be facing this question along with my sister.

    My sister has a bigger and nicer house along with really cool TVs…i’m thinking mom might wanna move to St. Louis!

  8. No one in their right mind ever wants to move to St. Louis. I mean, the Cardinals?

    Shudder

  9. Oh, don’t you be knocking midwestern cities, young man.

  10. Wait …
    The Cardinals.
    Groovy.
    Now I don’t want to live in St. Louis (I would move back to Amsterdam (yup, lived there) in a minute.
    But I love me some Cardinals. When I was a kid, it was the only thing I could get on the radio.
    Speaking of a Geezer, that would be me.

  11. Pingback: Dumptruck Of The Photo Variety « Newscoma

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