Is Parent Daycare on the Horizon?
As the workplace is changing, some Boomers are realizing they will never be able to retire unless forced out. To top it off, some may have parents to take care of. This could happen to anyone at any age depending on how old one’s parents are, but I’m looking at a potentially vast majority of us who are extending our working lives for one reason or another instead of retiring and taking care of one’s parents full time. In particular, I’m referring to parents who are not geriatrics, but lucid, and capable, to a certain extent, of maintaining a house, cleaning, driving, shopping, and the like.
My parents would absolutely freak out if they thought I was writing this about them because they don’t consider themselves “out of it.” They are and always will be to me, young at heart. But even while being young at heart, they too are realizing that they cannot do what they used to do and have physical limitations. They need help.
My workplace understands my personal issues and my boss bends over backward to allow me the time I need for my personal life. We call it “Work/Life Balance.” But now I’m thinking, boy, this is just like daycare for my son when he was little. I know of services such as the one I see on TV, called Visiting Angels, so that our folks can maintain their independence as long as possible by just have someone come to help them or keep them company when family is working.
Even if you have parents who move in with you, you still have to go to work, leaving them alone for 8 to 10 hours. Many employers these days have had great benefits but I don’t know if any who offer adult day care. It would be a great benefit for those of us in this dilemma. I can’t tell my parents to stop calling me while I’m at work. But it would give me peace of mind if I knew someone was available to assist when I can’t be there.
A perfect example is something that just happened this past weekend. My mother had an emergency gall bladder operation. She is laid up in bed and my father, who has neuropathy of both legs, hobbles around to help her but it’s a struggle for him and I worry he will fall. He falls a lot. Meanwhile, I was going to go there, but ended up with a head cold/sinus infection, and don’t want to risk giving that to either of them. My mother is prone to bronchitis and so that would just be a disaster, and not to sound like a fatalist, but she could possibly end up back in the hospital. So, I’m staying away. I have other siblings in the area who are going there in and out of work when they can. Thank goodness.
This experience is a wake-up call for future events. I guess I’m just writing this as an awareness of what the future holds for an aging workforce. Let me know what you think and if you have aging parents and what you are doing to help them while working.