As the nearly 75 million baby-boomers in the U.S. enter their 60s and 70s, too many remain in denial about the period between full self-sufficiency and the end of life. With boomers facing the possibility of caring for aging parents at the same time they start to worry about being a burden on their own children, it’s critical to acknowledge this period and its unique set of needs and concerns.
That’s the view of Melanie P. Merriman, a former hospice consultant who has studied illness, aging, and the medical system. She said mart, capable parents cling to the familiarity of homes that no longer suit them, and refuse the help they need. Adult children try to keep aging parents safe while respecting their autonomy. Finding balance is a constant challenge, and the fear of falling is real, Merriman said.
In her new memoir, “Holding the Net: Caring for My Mother on the Tightrope of Aging” (Green Writers Press), Merriman shares what she learned firsthand while caring for her fiercely independent, aging mother. Merriman candidly describes her efforts to make her motherâ€™s final years the best that they could be.
Merriman said her goal is to help readers find more positive moments and deal with the difficult ones by anticipating and planning for the â€œtightropeâ€ phase.