by Amy Jasper
Mama was one of the five million Americans suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. I used to say, “The moment Mama doesn’t know who I am, I’ll fall apart.” That was one of the final benchmarks I had set for my sanity. Others proceeded: “I’ll never be able to bathe Mama.”
But what had seemed unthinkable in the early stages of my mother’s Alzheimer’s disease eventually became the harsh reality of caring for her. I hated the disease that had taken away the quiet dignity that had defined her life. My parents raised five children who enjoyed each other’s company. None of us ever imagined what our lives as siblings were to become as our parents aged. Like most, we had never discussed certain things with our parents. Their financial situation was considered their business and not ours.
But what happens when one or both parents live a long life and need long-term care along the way? Through pensions, social security, and Medicare, our parents were able to care for themselves. However, they did not plan to be taken care of, and those are two different things.