Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Generation X.

A few weeks ago, I was once again a guest on Caregiving.com's Saturday webcast, A Caregiver's Journey. My lovely host, Denise, had me tell my story from the beginning; including when I first started taking care of Dad and how it was to be his caregiver, even though he and I didn't have the best relationship. Something she asked me about has been sticking in my head ever since.

I had mentioneI d how young I was when I had to take charge of Dad, only about thirty-three. I went looking for a book or some other form of information to help me out in my grief, but also to help me do a job that usually falls to people much, much older. One usually expects to begin worrying about one's parents and their health at fifty or sixty, when a parent is perhaps seventy or eighty. It isn't all that common yet to have to do it in one's thirties, and all I could find were books and information aimed at the fifty and over crowd! There weren't even any support groups I could find with members in my age group.

I told Denise that this lack of information and support was one reason I had written my book, so that I could share what I learned with other people in my situation. Nobody expected Generation X would have to deal with something like this! I've read a lot of memoirs, books of advice for caregivers, and combinations of the two, but I still have yet to find one that's truly for a younger audience. Unfortunately, since the increased advent of early-onset dementia, it's an audience that will continue to grow. In the past few years, I've talked to more and more people my age who are taking on extreme burdens while still building their own lives.

For the most part, caregiving, in general, is the same the world over, and we all have to deal with the same or similar issues. It's always comforting, though, to feel that you're being understood by someone in the same peer group, someone who understands the specific feelings and issues you feel. I wish I'd had that when it really mattered, although I got through it the best I could. My goal now is to help as many caregivers as I can, especially the younger ones.

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