My mother was forgetful. My father had cancer. They called me for help and asked their lawyer to draw up some papers. I’d like to say that I thought carefully about my decision to offer support and that I fully understood what this decision would entail, but in truth, I was clueless.
At the time, my children were three and six years old. My parents, 78 and 77. A working mother, I became my parents’ care partner: a juggler of medical appointments and Girl Scouts, Little League and cardiac labs, home care and school plays. After my father passed away, one of my sisters—along with her three teenagers and 5 year old, two dogs and a ferret—joined forces with me and invited our mother to live with her family. These years were bittersweet, often chaotic, and tiring, yet, in the end, deeply beneficial to our families and an ongoing source of hilarious stories around our dinner table. After both parents were gone, I decided to share our story and the lessons we learned; I encourage you to share yours.
I had the good fortune to be born into a large Scots-Irish family: my four siblings and I are the grandchildren of, as my father often joked, a “poor, unfortunate Irish immigrant” and the first generation to attend college. Professionally, I have worked as a scientist, educator, pharmaceutical executive, and management consultant—none of which, by the way, adequately prepared me for this journey with my parents. Recently, I founded Circle of Life Partners, as a trustworthy resource to help families successfully support aging loved ones and maintain their financial health.
Tell me what you need to know, and I’ll research it for you. I do not have a financial arrangement with any of the organizations that I write about; I simply want to provide you with knowledge or ideas that might help save time, energy or missteps. I was clueless when I began supporting my parents, but you don’t have to be; you are not alone. Together, let’s help your parents and older family members enjoy their last years to the fullest!