Friday, April 28, 2006

Caught Between a Rock and Our Parents' Place

Many of us have reached an interesting phase in life: the Sandwich Generation. We're young enough to have children who need our help and old enough to have parents who are starting to have trouble managing at home alone. We find ourselves tip-toeing around issues with our parents, often to their detriment, and working longer, less productive hours because we're losing focus at work.

The condition of their home will be your best guide for whether your parents are having trouble managing alone. Look for spoiled food, dishes piled up, unwashed laundry, disheveled clothing or lightbulbs that need to be replaced -- anything that just isn't consistent with who you know your parents to be.

One sales executive I spoke with recounted his concerns for his newly-widowed mother in another state "I just can't seem to concentrate on work when I'm at work and I'm not really with her when I go visit -- I'm just the handyman." Through our work together, I helped him land an elder-care concierge, someone who run errands, arranges rides and help around the house. His productivity at work increased dramatically and his visits home were much more enjoyable (for him and for his mother).

Talk with your parents. Be straight about your concerns for their welfare, remembering that they have been in it -- living with their home conditions -- and may be unaware that conditions on the homefront have gotten out of hand. One conversation with my Father, explaining that, unless the house got back under his control I'd move back in for a few weeks and snap things back in shape was all he needed. He knows how pushy this daughter is -- he raised her.

Visit to learn how this service can add peace of mind for you and those who raised you.