SANDWICH GENERATION: Parenting your aging parent | #parenting



As changes happen when parents get older, change also happens within family dynamics. Sometimes, a child can feel like they are parenting their parent in many situations.”I know I had my moments, especially this summer, where I was like, he just will not listen, he just will not listen to a thing I am saying,” Jena Johnson said of her dad, John.She collaborates with him, and her brother to find the best way forward for her mom, Jeretta, who has a cognitive disease. Because of that, Johnson sometimes takes on an advice-giving role.”Just trying to encourage to maybe look at things a different way,” Johnson said.Amy Dorton with Nebraska Medicine said this is also something she hears from her patients.”You have to draw a boundary in how much emotional energy you’re going to put toward decisions you might make that they might not agree with,” Dorton said.Dorton said making a plan for any future care and designating who is helping with decision-making can eliminate some conflict.”There’s only so much that people can do. There’s only so much that we can ask of our adult parents at the end of the day,” Dorton said.Siblings can also disagree on the best option for their mom or dad.”With your support system, if it’s your siblings, you all want to talk together and how is this going to work. I think thinking of it as it’s not a one and done, it’s going to be a continuous conversation as things change about the journey,” Julie Chytil with the Nebraska Alzheimer’s Association said.She added their helpline can also help navigate those discussions.Luckily for Johnson, that’s nothing something she has to worry too much about.”We’ve been on the same page with everything, there really hasn’t been anything to disagree on at this point,” Johnson said.She added, her family has figured out the best ways to delegate. For example, she takes on the ‘caregiver’ role, while her brother is better at approaching some topics with her dad.”I’m like calling my brother and I’m like Jamie, say this to dad. He listens to you, because he does and he listens to my brother more than me,” Johnson said.Johnson said the frustration over all of this is worth it, to have more moments with her mother.”She gets to laughing, she gets, you know her humor is still there at this point. Sometimes we have no clue what she’s laughing at and then we start laughing and none of us know what we are laughing at and that makes it good,” Johnson said.

As changes happen when parents get older, change also happens within family dynamics. Sometimes, a child can feel like they are parenting their parent in many situations.

“I know I had my moments, especially this summer, where I was like, he just will not listen, he just will not listen to a thing I am saying,” Jena Johnson said of her dad, John.

She collaborates with him, and her brother to find the best way forward for her mom, Jeretta, who has a cognitive disease. Because of that, Johnson sometimes takes on an advice-giving role.

“Just trying to encourage to maybe look at things a different way,” Johnson said.

Amy Dorton with Nebraska Medicine said this is also something she hears from her patients.

“You have to draw a boundary in how much emotional energy you’re going to put toward decisions you might make that they might not agree with,” Dorton said.

Dorton said making a plan for any future care and designating who is helping with decision-making can eliminate some conflict.

“There’s only so much that people can do. There’s only so much that we can ask of our adult parents at the end of the day,” Dorton said.

Siblings can also disagree on the best option for their mom or dad.

“With your support system, if it’s your siblings, you all want to talk together and how is this going to work. I think thinking of it as it’s not a one and done, it’s going to be a continuous conversation as things change about the journey,” Julie Chytil with the Nebraska Alzheimer’s Association said.

She added their helpline can also help navigate those discussions.

Luckily for Johnson, that’s nothing something she has to worry too much about.

“We’ve been on the same page with everything, there really hasn’t been anything to disagree on at this point,” Johnson said.

She added, her family has figured out the best ways to delegate. For example, she takes on the ‘caregiver’ role, while her brother is better at approaching some topics with her dad.

“I’m like calling my brother and I’m like Jamie, say this to dad. He listens to you, because he does and he listens to my brother more than me,” Johnson said.

Johnson said the frustration over all of this is worth it, to have more moments with her mother.

“She gets to laughing, she gets, you know her humor is still there at this point. Sometimes we have no clue what she’s laughing at and then we start laughing and none of us know what we are laughing at and that makes it good,” Johnson said.

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