It’s been nearly 22 years since I said goodbye to my wonderful mother. There is not a day goes by that I don’t think of her or that I don’t miss her. More and more, I see her staring back at me in the bathroom mirror!
One of the things I deeply regret is not having been there for her in her final months and years of failing health when I could have been of more support to her. Not only did I live nearly three hours away then, but I also had three small children and a full-time job in ministry. In the church we say that half-time is full-time and full-time is really overtime, so you know how busy I was!
Most of my Boomer friends have had their parents far longer, but because my mother and father did not have their children until late in life, they have not been here to see my children grow up. Mom did not even know our youngest, who was born the year after she died.
But if my Boomer friends are getting to enjoy more time with Mom and Dad, they are also often facing similar challenges. Some live considerable distances from their aging parents, which makes it difficult to care for them properly. Some are caring for grandchildren while still holding down full or part-time jobs. Some are also caring for partners who are not well. One Boomer friend told me that over the last three years she has been running back and forth between two different hospitals in two different cities, as she has tried to visit her mother in one hospital and her husband in another.
At this Fall’s Canadian Boomerfest, this is one of the challenges we will try to address: how to care for yourself while caring for older parents, partners who may be suffering from ill health, or grandchildren — sometimes juggling all three at once! This is why we call Boomers the Sandwich Generation. An important question for those working in health care or providing leadership in our faith communities is how do we support older adults in their quest for spiritual health and wholeness while seeking to care for the caregiver? There is no question that the longevity revolution parallels the care-giving wave. These are some of the concerns we will address at Canadian Boomerfest 2018.
Please join us at Canadian Boomerfest 2018 from October 17th to 19th, Siloam United Church, 1240 Fanshawe Road East, London, ON! See you there!