Ever thought about what it would be like to trade places with your parent? What would it be like to no longer be the child in the relationship and instead have to parent your parent? This article would strive to make people of all ages aware of what might, and in all probability will, be like to care for aging parents. This article would address the very real aspect of being or becoming an 'in-betweener:' The point in one's life where you are a both a child of aging parents, and a parent yourself. The author should discuss each aspect of these responsibilities detailing challenges as well as rewards.

The author would address the increased instances of early onset Alzheimer's, list some of the latest ratios of people affected by the disease and the probability that they or someone close to them will eventually have to balance three different lives: Their children's, their parents and their own. The author could share their emotions on the possibilities of having a parent move into their (the child's) home, considering an Assisted Living location or the dreaded Nursing Home option. The author could also touch on the polarizing option of end-of-life choices and the point at which those decisions are discussed and ultimately implemented. The author should address the conundrum of living ones own life versus the expectation of being a selfless adult child.

I'm in a sandwich situation. Not the fun sandwich kind or the tasty sandwich kind either. I'm living with my parents - again. Before you peg me as a stringy-haired creepster holed up in the basement of my parents home, give me a few seconds to explain. I had it all figured out. Then life threw me a curveball and instead of hitting it, it hit me - directly between the eyes. So I moved back home. Then my mom's health started to fail. And it failed fast. I won't go into a litany of her medical records except to say we all suspect Alzheimer's disease.

Alzheimer's disease affects every 1 in 10 Americans over the age of 65 and nearly half of all Americans over 85. It's been described as an insidious disease. Partly due to the fact that you can't see it, you can't target it, and you can't stop it. It steals the very sole of the person suffering from it. In the process it tries to destroy everyone else in the process. These numbers are from alzinfo.org: I just joined the 10.9 million other Americans who are unpaid caregivers. I hope you never have to join me. You may think a child shouldn't expect to be paid to care for an aging parent. Last year I would have agreed with you. This year I've changed my mind. This year I've had to give up my job, cut back on my college courses, move into my parents home and, for all intents and purposes, put my own life on hold. Until you have done it, you do not comprehend the physical and emotional exhaustion that comes from caring for a parent that doesn't want to be taken care of. I didn't get it. I wish I were still blissfully unaware.

My parents raised me. I then raised a daughter. Now, I am effectively parenting my mother. I also help my father navigate the endless medical appointments, doctor consults and prescription drugs he now has to manage for his wife. The partner he once had is slipping away from him and he, often times, wants to sink into his chair, go to sleep, and not think about it anymore. I can't speak for him, but the emotions I go through are exhausting. I'm upset, confused, uninformed, unprepared, angry, and most of all really pissed off. I had plans for my life! We were supposed to go to Ireland together! I have things I want to accomplish! I want my mother back! Damn it, I didn't plan on this!
Neither did my mother. Neither did my father.

Caring for your parent when they need it is, in all probability, something the majority of us will have to do. A good friend told me that she felt lucky losing her parents early in her life. She'll never have to deal with these choices. What did she sacrifice for that? A lifetime never spent with her parents.

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