In Daddy Issues: Why caring for my aging father has me wishing he would die (Atlantic Magazine, March 2012), Sandra Tsing Loh presents a personal account of the stress and sense of futility and eventual desperation she feels in her struggle to care for her aging father.
Ms. Loh begins with Gail Sheehy’s description of the freedom 50-year old’s experience after the kids are grown and their parents are enjoying their “golden years” by cashing in on frequent flyer miles to travel the globe – which differ from Ms. Loh’s experience as much as heaven differs from hell.
In fact, over 70% of all Americans over 65 will need some form of long-term care, and although Ms. Loh’s experience is extremely difficult, it is not uncommon. Her account begins with her father’s plan that his much younger wife would care for him. This failed miserably when her signs of dementia began to occur at the same time he declined dramatically.
She continues with her futile attempts to hire caregivers (at her own expense), most of whom quit the first day because her father is such a difficult case. Once she finally finds someone who can handle her father, she and the caregiver form a team, and the need for her substantial role wreaks havoc with her own life.
This article is quite long and very difficult to read. Her sad story and her honesty about her struggle are very provocative. Many readers commented that the author is a self centered bitch, while just as many laud her for her candor and humor. Still others commented in spectacular detail about their resentment & anger towards their own needy parent.
Since I see or hear about variations of this dilemma every day, I admire Ms. Loh’s candor and courage in telling her sad story, which she expressed with great honesty and a sense of humor.
Anyone who takes the time to read it will want to own long-term care insurance.