From Ann Landers on August 4


Dear Ann Landers: I am 46 years old, with grown children and elderly parents -- the so-called "sandwich generation." This has been a most difficult time for me. I do not want to put my children through this same misery and have written a list to remind myself how to behave when I am the age my parents are now. I hope you will print it to help others who may be in the same situation. -- Buffalo, N.Y.

Dear Buffalo: Your list should be required reading for everyone over 60. It is chock-full of wisdom and caring. Thanks for sending it on. Here it is:

1. When my children tell me I should no longer drive, I will believe them and quit, because I know they love me.

2. When it becomes apparent that I need extra help, I will accept it from outsiders because my children cannot do everything. They have other obligations beyond my daily care.

3. It is up to me to make my life fulfilling. It is not my children's responsibility. I must stay active and learn to entertain myself so I do not become a burden to them.

4. If my children tell me I am becoming confused and that it is no longer safe for me to be alone, I will believe them and not become defensive.

5. If I am unable to get along with my children, I will seek counseling so we can learn to manage the changes in my life together.

6. I will get my legal affairs in order and trust the advice of professionals so there will be no problems about money or property down the road.

7. I will not complain about feeling poorly. My children cannot fix my health, and such complaints are emotionally draining for them to hear.

8. My children are not my indentured servants. I will remember to thank them for everything they do for me, and I will do loving things in return.

9. I will avoid making my children feel guilty. Age is no excuse for insults and manipulative behavior.

10. For as long as I can, I will take good care of myself physically, dress well and carry myself with dignity. Nothing saddens a child more than to witness parents who give up on how they present themselves.

I post this because I know someone who is still relatively young, compared to how long people live these days, but she acts as if she were 30 years older. It's a little depressing. I know there are extenuating health reasons, but I never did do well with geriatrics (that's a whole other story of my childhood). I think the ones I find most pointing here are #'s 2,3,5,7, and 9 (weird, they are almost all primes...) ... anyways, that's my rant on the behavior of elderly adults. Overall she is great to be around, it's those times that she starts feeling depressed that gets me, and others, down.