Father Bonnie Keane is incurably ill, he is 72 years old; he lives on the East Coast. And her daughter is three years old, she has just approached preschool age, she lives on the West Coast.
Where to look for Bonnie herself? “I'm somewhere in the middle,” says a 45-year-old psychologist from California State University. And this is only partly a joke.
Because, like many other modern women, Bonnie Keane, Ph.D., found herself in a geographical and emotional trap between the needs and the needs of the passing and future generations. It belongs to a generation that demographers called squeezed, a generation of women sandwiched between parents and children.
“This is a sociological phenomenon added by Dr. Keen, who appeared as a result of the collision of three different cultural tendencies parents live longer and suffer chronic illnesses, women later get married and have children at the end of the third dozen or after forty years, the phenomenon of“ squeezed ”American women quickly leads to the fact that the most productive, the best years of a woman’s life should be spent on hard-working hard labor.
Women traditionally care for family members who either leave the cradle or approach the grave, explains Dr. Keane. But in our society, before they were not expected that they would work from 9 to 5 o'clock and take care of old and small family members at the same time. Especially if old people and children live in different places at a great distance from each other. ”
Unfortunately, the demands placed on women in such a situation are so great that they have to postpone their own professional or personal plans for later, they have no other way out.
When this happens, some women begin to think that their life is over, Dr. Keen notes, although this simply means that you need to postpone your personal development for a while. There is intense work inside you. Most women come out of this period, either unable to fully recover, or with such an impulse to develop, that they gain altitude like a rocket. ”
What can you do so that the time spent in a state of squeezing becomes for you a launching pad, and not a one-way ticket to where there is no return?
Decide. Be clear about your priorities, Dr. Keen emphasizes. You need to know who you are and what you want. Know what you want for your children, yourself and your parents.
Rate the possible consequences. If you decide, for example, to take your father to you, you will need extra time and money, which you will have to take from your children. How does this affect the emotional health of children? Or your ability to pay for their college tuition?
Think about your limitations. Although the commercial says that in the right tights we can do everything, in real life this is far from the case. One of us lacks patience, others have free time. Think about your possibilities, advises Dr. Keen. If you continually exceed them, later you just fall through and suffer from feelings of guilt.
Discuss what you expect from each other. What do you expect from yourself as a daughter? What do your parents expect from you? In general, what is a “good” daughter? Is it the daughter who invites the old mother to come and live with her? Or does a good daughter negotiate with a neighbor to come to her mother and feed her with breakfast? Could it be a woman who puts her mother in a nursing home? We all relate differently to our own actions and the actions of others, says Dr. Keen. The only way to understand what will be the best way out for everyone is to sit down and honestly and openly discuss the situation.
Speak about money. It may be easier for you to talk with your parents about death or sex than about money, says Dr. Keane. But you should do this before you undertake any obligation to care for them. Your relationship will be less affected if everyone knows what they can count on.
Set the limits. Decide for yourself what you can and cannot do for your family, then stay within these limits, no matter what others say.
Plan to collect all family members. Brothers and sisters easily forget that parents need their care and their parents too. Gather everyone, list all the types of care that parents need, buy groceries, visit a doctor, do laundry, and then calmly ask everyone what they can take on.
Share your experiences. Across the country, there are organizations like Caring Children of Aging Parents, Dr. Keen reports. You can find other people with the same problems, share experiences on caring for parents, learn about new resources and let off couples that accumulate in women of the “crushed” generation.