At ninety-three, my grandfather has survived a lot. He lived through WWII, serving in the war. He lived through the death of my grandmother, the death of a son, bouts with skin cancer, and a heart attack.
With all of the things he’s survived have come many changes. A few years ago, he left the house he bought with my grandmother, the house my mother grew up in, to move closer to our family in Hollidaysburg. He moved into an apartment complex for the aging, and had to get used to a completely new type of life.
It hasn’t always been an easy adjustment, especially for my mother.
Although my grandfather is able to live independently, my mother truly serves as his caregiver. She is his apartment cleaner, grocery buyer, laundry washer, bill payer, finance organizer, pill refiller, question answerer, and everything else in between.
It’s not an easy job.
Caregiving: The Balancing Act
Like so many, my mom has had to make the adjustment in her life from being the child to being the caregiver. It is a tough task. Not only does my mom work full-time and keep her own life going, she has to also take on my grandfather’s household, keeping it managed and working. Add to that the role she plays in my life, and she’s a busy woman.
So many people don’t realize how difficult it can be when your parents age. With the role of caregiver, even if it is for an independent parent, comes a very tenuous balancing act. Essentially, my mom is constantly balancing three households: her own, my grandfather, and mine. It’s wearing, it’s taxing, it’s stressful, and it’s frustrating.
But she does it with patience and grace. She does it because she has to, but she also does it because she is an amazing, caring person.
I think many women in this age range find themselves in this hectic balancing act. That’s really what inspired the character of Annie in Then Comes Love.
Like so many women in their fifties, Annie is trying to care for her mother while also keeping tabs on her thirty-two-year-old daughter. Annie suffers with feeling like she never really has her own life and feeling worn out. Add to that a divorce and career issue, and you’ve got yourself the perfect storm of a mid-life crisis.
There are many humorous issues Annie has to deal with, some based on my understanding of caregiving through my mom’s eyes as well as my time visiting my grandfather’s apartment complex. Switching to a new life in a place for the elderly isn’t easy on anyone, and it is accompanied by its share of complexities.
Then Comes Love, among other things, seeks to focus on the hectic, stressful, but also humorous life that can unfold when the elderly are forced to find a new place to live.