ONDBEAT: Keeping up with aging parents keeps Baby Boomers active

An update from my sister documenting the daily events of our just-turned-89-year-old Ma crossed the email transom two weeks ago.

There had been another at-home emergency, Jane wrote.

Ma’s washing machine had split a hose, flooding her dining room and carpeted hallway and, we later learned, spilling down into her Tennessee basement.

Ma called 911.

“The two cops who showed up did none of the mopping, but may have helped her schedule a plumber for today,” my sister’s update continued.

I think there’s reprieve for folks who are either too young or too old to know better about misusing the 911 emergency system. At least I hope so.

Ma’s other reprieve these days involves issues with short-term memory, so if the powers-that-be do catch up with her and she’s summoned to testify, she probably won’t be able to remember what her infraction was.

The good news is Ma’s washing machine is working again.

These are just a few of the day-to-day matters dealing with an aging parent. I’m learning a lot of fellow Baby Boomers are doing the same.

A story source wrote me recently, apologizing for a minor error I had called to his attention. He said he had been tied up with his 94-year-old dad, who had been in the hospital and rehab for several weeks after injuring and subsequently infecting his leg while doing yard work outside in the 106-degree heat index.

He didn’t want to leave his dad alone for more than an hour or his dad would overdo it. He returned one day to find a ladder against the house, a sure sign his nonagenarian dad had been up on the roof.

His dad’s rehab therapists want him to stop driving because he has hearing problems. But his dad thinks because he can still drive, he should.

In the past year or so, our own Mom agreed on her own volition to stop driving. But when it came time to sell her car, her car keys couldn’t be located. Anywhere. A few days later, the keys magically showed up in a drawer where my sisters had already looked. Ma couldn’t remember a thing.

And so it goes.

Jim Fish, president of Brunswick Senior Resources Inc., said in an interview a few years ago there comes a time when all of us have to face issues with aging parents.

Baby Boomers still being initiated into generational matters like these sometimes get stuck in denial. When we catch a break, we like to escape and tune out for a while when we can by tuning into our beloved classic rock or oldies stations, say, while zipping around in our own midlife race cars, as cool as we were back in high school.

Thank goodness, we say, these aging things are never going to happen to us.


Laura Lewis is a staff writer for the Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or llewis@brunswickbeacon.com.