America is the land of opportunity. It can also be, for too many, the country of too much to do. For some, the steps to decelerate schedules can be making tough choices such as forgoing volunteer commitments, sports leagues or social events.
For others, the path may not be as easy. In the recent NY Times article (http://nyti.ms/1p26TkM), “Living With the Parents I’m Losing to Alzheimer’s”, Paula Span recounts the loving struggle of Emily Wolf, a thirty-something who made the decision to take care of both of her parents who have advanced forms of Alzheimer’s. Emily, and her husband, Casey, moved from their home in bucolic Vermont back to Emily’s home state of New Jersey to be with her parents. Emily and Casey could have made the decision to have both of her parents live in a memory loss facility, but as Emily explains, “They’ve been here (their home) 40 years. All my dad ever wanted was this home. Who am I, if I take my dad from his home?”
Her devotion to her parents is admirable because of how selfless Emily (and Casey) is in putting her parents needs in front of her own. There is no doubt that Emily would have made this exact decision again and again and again because it meets the wishes and desires of her parents.
What is tough to reconcile is what impact this is having on Emily and Casey who are in the primes of their lives. As Emily explains, “Most of my ‘me time’ is spent going to the gym; I see a therapist and get acupuncture a couple of times a month, too. These are the things I do to stay alive. More than anything, the grief or loss I feel is in the form of loneliness. The isolation. I don’t know how to relate to people my age.”
‘Me time’ should not be to do the things just to stay alive, but to growth, explore, socialize, assist or just relax.
A goal at NEATGOODS is to provide solutions that not only provide enhanced dignity but to also give back time to catch up on social media, go for a walk or jog, call our best friend from college, or pour a glass of wine and just relax. This is one thing we hope no one needs to schedule.