Everyone’s heard of the sandwich generation — those still raising their own children when their parents begin needing care. I find myself rapidly approaching that point, not with my own parents, but my mother-in-law.
It’s heartbreaking to see a woman who could (and did) calculate payroll in her head become so confused or depressed that three months of mail — bills, checks, and everything else — is stacked unopened by her chair.
She no longer drives; she no longer cooks, beyond putting a frozen TV dinner in the microwave.
As Hubby begins working on getting repairs made to various pieces of farm equipment, I’ve been through all the mail, organizing, sorting, and tending to business. The bills are all paid now, and a stack of checks have been deposited in her bank. A few were approaching the magic 90-day age when they would have no longer been any good.
She watches the network news every night, fretting herself silly over the war in Iraq, over a president who fired seven US Attorneys (didn’t Clinton fire ninety-something when he took office?), but neglecting the very matters over which she has absolute control. It’s as though she can no longer differentiate between what she can and should worry about, and those things which she can do nothing about.
It’s obvious to me that she does not need to be living alone, but equally obvious that she will not leave her home. I would be happy to help with the daily living tasks, but I live 14 hours away.
What does one do in this circumstance? I am so afraid for her.