So many Boomers have transitioned into a time in their lives when they add to their repertoire of experiences the role of caregiver.
I think often this time brings on an awakening of sorts; where yet another set of blinders are peeled back and one begins to come to terms with not only the fact that our parents really do grow older, but so do we.
Now, every so often in my work I come across something that truly inspires me. It happens to us all from time to time, I guess; a chance encounter with some body of work or person that fills you with energy, validates your goal or steers you to some new way of thinking.
I was fortunate to have someone think enough about me or something I’ve done to send me an article that has certainly taken its place among some of the most inspirational pieces I’ve read about Boomers in quite some time.
The article I’m referring to is entitled, “Imperfect endings: Baby boomers are beginning to grasp what it means to grow old in America,” by Carol Robidoux.
Boomers experience growing older
It’s part of the human condition and probably more apparent in our society now, as there are so many Baby Boomers among us. Carol, along with millions of others is going through what is essentially a trial by fire: thrust into the role of caregiver and wading through all that entails. By no means an enviable position, yet an act that speaks volumes about some of the best stuff we humans have in us: love, compassion and dedication.
Yet, with all that goes along with taking care of a loved one, I can’t see how anyone couldn’t begin reflecting on their own life during this time. I think this is probably the thing that struck me the most about Carol’s article. She so honestly describes her own inner battle against her own mortality, as she tends to the care of her father.
A wake-up call
“Once we figure out how to help our parents make it to the other side, we’d better take a cold, hard look at what growing old in America means. Because the view from here, so far, is unwelcoming.” ~ Carol Robidoux
Anyone who knows anything about me knows I (practically) preach that we have to actively plan for our older years. I don’t think I do it in a way that is insensitive to the needs, situations or burdens of others. Honestly, I do it out of immense concern. I’ve written quite a bit about the challenges America will face with the aging Boomers. Not because they are bad, but because of the ramifications I think we will experience due to their sheer number.
I will be completely honest, here. This isn’t just a wake up call for Boomers. This should be a wake up call for everyone in the nation. What is about to transpire in the next few decades in our communities is going to affect everyone while it is going on, and will ripple into the next generations.
Boomers don’t have the market on this caregiving journey; there are many across the upcoming generations that are going through it as well. Her statements, though, speak to something I’ve felt for a while … as Boomers go through these transitions in their lives, they are going to suss some things out and so will everyone else. Change is definitely coming.
My hope is that the changes that occur during the next 15 to 30 years will bode well for those coming up behind them. We as a nation must decide what those changes will be. I hope we make good choices; for all our sake.
A personal note for Carol
Carol, it seems so small a gesture in light of what you and your family are going through to say that I’m so sorry to hear about your dad. I truly am. I know it is really tough and my heart goes out to you. I’m sorry that you, as nearly everyone that came before you, have to navigate through this whole caregiving journey. I’m sorry that you have to experience the waves of emotion and the constant inner dialogue while you try to make sense of it all.
I just want you to know … you’re not alone. Millions understand exactly what you’re going through right this minute. And, every person who reads this article is going to be thinking about you and your dad. Here’s hoping a little good mojo over the Internets will give you a boost; if even for just a few minutes.
And, Carol, thanks for being brave enough to write this down. You inspired me today.
If you’re still reading and are so inclined, why not tell Carol you thought about her today? Shoot her a note on Twitter @carolrobidoux.