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?