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An online journal for women engaging the third third of their lives.

The Third Third Topic: Aging Parents

Third Third Aging Parents Our already-complex relationships with our parents can be tested at this time in our lives - and theirs — by mental and physical health issues, financial constraints, your sense of responsibility, their sense of entitlement or fierce independence, and the absence of a roadmap for this part of the journey. Let's talk about what we know, what we're learning, and what we need.

Perspectives on Aging Parents

Patterns of Care

  My mother-in-law was absolutely certain her husband intended to lash out at her when his dementia took hold.  “He’s not sick,” she would say. “He’s just doing this to get at me.” Let’s ignore for the moment her need for Denial as ...
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AGING PARENTS | 903 Views | 0 Comments

A Peaceful Death

When my grandmother died, the newspaper where I worked published a loving editorial tribute I wrote.  When my friend Jan died, I wrote and offered a elegiac reflection to the church packed with mourners.  When my mother died 11 years ago, I wrote the obituary for her hometown newspaper...
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AGING PARENTS | 3977 Views | 0 Comments

End-of-Life. . .Emotions

The term “end of life” has taken on new meaning in recent weeks  as I witness my dad's erratic, but inexorable decline. Not new meaning, new meanings. Just when I begin to think I have made some peace personally, I find myself having to deal with my sister’s very diffe...
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AGING PARENTS | 1698 Views | 0 Comments

Dad's Demise

The demise of one’s parent, no matter that it’s neither unexpected nor tragic at age 89, is still powerfully sad.  No matter, either, what the relationship has been or might have been, no matter how finished or unfinished your business with each other, a parent’s death is ...
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AGING PARENTS | 1327 Views | 0 Comments

What if I were 80?

  Reporter Janice Turner, 40,  turned herself into a modern day crone to answer the question “What if I were 80?” But when she wrote about it in The Times of London this weekend, she didn’t have an answer, really (except that upon receipt of a photo of his wife ...
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AGING PARENTS | 1083 Views | 0 Comments

The 2010 Christmas Letter

For the most part, the tone of the Christmas letters we now receive has changed.  All braggadocio is gone.  Tender words expressing a grandparent’s state of “ga-ga” over grandchildren share space with ruminations about retirement.  Some, of course, send an extensive ...
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AGING PARENTS | 1197 Views | 0 Comments

An Assist for Assisted Living

An assisted living facility is nothing more than “a goddam rest home,” according to my father, who, clearly under duress, moved into a really very lovely place in May.   I’ve been trying to look at it through his eyes since that little outburst and I’ll give him thi...
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AGING PARENTS | 1232 Views | 0 Comments

You Can't Please Daddy

What is it about selling my father’s house that prompted a full-scale emotional meltdown  on my part? It stuns me, it really does, to think that I have arrived in the third third of my life and I can still turn on a full-court press to “please Daddy.”  And then (wor...
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AGING PARENTS | 1044 Views | 0 Comments

Truth or Consequences

When I was a child, the word “parent” was a noun, and not a verb. I was trained and disciplined, fed, clothed, educated, loved, criticized, corrected, reprimanded, and, upon occasion, punished.  I was not parented.  My parents knew of Dr. Spock, but not of Brazelton, Piaget, ...
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AGING PARENTS | 1784 Views | 2 Comments

Letting go of my Father

When things are “not quite right” (as Miss Clavell says as she turns out the light in Ludwig Bemelmans’, delightful children’s tale, Madeline), I tend, like many of my friends, to start reading anything I can about the subject at hand. I want to know and understand, as if ...
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AGING PARENTS | 8531 Views | 0 Comments

The Caretaker Daughter

It is one thing to have a good discussion with your 88 or 89 year-old mother about end-of-life issues.  It’s quite another, my 50-something (and favorite) cousin reminded me yesterday, to live through them.  Quite another.  In fact, she said she wasn’t sure...
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AGING PARENTS | 4680 Views | 1 Comments

Where is Dad Supposed to Live?

Unlikely as it seems with both the economy and the housing industry in such turmoil, I have a surefire way to make a fortune: design and build cost-effective, safe, comfortable, down-sized homes for our senior senior citizens, people like my father. They exist, of course, in some places, but usu...
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AGING PARENTS | 1975 Views | 0 Comments

When Independence Trumps Reason

My father always remembers our birthdays. He knows my sisters and I are grown woman with grown children of our own. But he treats us as if we were all still 12 and a bit of a bother, rejecting both our professional accomplishments and the people we have become at 54, 57, and 60 with a vehemence ...
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AGING PARENTS | 9469 Views | 1 Comments

That Final Stop on the Journey

One of the experiences we share in The Third Third is the death of loved ones, so I wanted to share with you that my mother, Helen Isabel Ferris Hynes, died at the age of 94 at St. Mary's Hospital in Rochester, Minnesota on Sunday. She lived independently all of her life, volunteered...
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AGING PARENTS | 1243 Views | 0 Comments

Caretakers: Your New Best Friends

“A-yunn.” Crystal believed my name had two syllables. Like she believed that Jesus Christ had died for her sins, that tanning salons were safer than beaches, and that “them little weenies in a can” constituted a legitimate source of protein for her kids. &ldqu...
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AGING PARENTS | 2289 Views | 0 Comments

Taking Away the Car Keys

We third-third-ers fortunate enough to still have parents spend a fair amount of time justifying what we do or do not do for them. We seek to validate our decisions, constantly in my case – with ourselves, our siblings, our spouses, our parents themselves, and our friends. Of these, I find...
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AGING PARENTS | 7351 Views | 0 Comments

What the Things We Keep Say.

I packed up my father’s home last week. Not my childhood home, but the place he’s lived since he retired to North Carolina 20 years ago. Though he is still very much alive, we had an estate sale, my brother and I. And it’s the ball markers that stick in my mind. Not the a...
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AGING PARENTS | 1531 Views | 0 Comments

Should I Move my Dad Next Door?

When our long-time neighbor, aged 85, moved into assisted living after a series of falls, he and his family played right into a fantasy I’ve secretly harbored for several years: I could move my dad into the house next door! There, I reasoned, my sisters and I could take better care of him ...
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AGING PARENTS | 3918 Views | 0 Comments

After the Fall

My dad says it was my fault. If I hadn’t called him that evening, (I call almost every night), he wouldn’t have tangled his feet in the throw rug in front of his chair and fallen, busting open his head and damaging his eye. Go figure. The problem is, I agree. It is my fault. ...
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AGING PARENTS | 1529 Views | 0 Comments

Blog entries on Aging Parents

The Caregiving Passage

Gail Sheehy’s latest book chronicling life’s ages and stages just as we “of a certain age” reach them, is called Passages in Caregiving: Turning Chaos into Confidence (May, 2010). In a related story in the July 5 Newsweek,she calls a “second round of caregiving&rd...
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Category: AGING PARENTS | 1406 Views | 0 Comments | July 08, 2010 11:17:55 am

Welcome to the Departure Lounge

Welcome to the Departure Lounge: Adventures in Mothering Mother is author Meg Federico's memoir of the misery of long-distance care-taking for an aging, failing, and ultimately, dying mother -- and stepfather. It is a How-Not-To-Do-It. It is, also -- and I was never sure Federico recognized ...
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Category: AGING PARENTS | 4610 Views | 0 Comments | May 26, 2009 1:10:47 pm

Heavy Blanket of Misery

The New York Times Online launched a new blog for us this month. According to writer Jane Gross, "Thanks to the marvels of medical science, our parents are living longer than ever before. Adults over age 80 are the fastest growing segment of the population, and most will spend years depende...
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Category: AGING PARENTS | 1631 Views | 0 Comments | July 02, 2008 3:51:42 pm

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