You never know where....

... LIFE WILL TAKE YOU. ONE DAY, YOU’RE SELLING REAL ESTATE, AND THE NEXT, YOU’RE CARING FOR YOUR AGING MOTHER AND BLOGGING ABOUT IT.

It all started with the seniors....I thought I’d sell them some real estate. Common sense says they’d be an excellent source of revenue with an unlimited and continuous supply of opportunity. Right? So I became a senior specialist, and enlisted a partner (...after all, there would be way too many sellers for me to handle alone). We created some slick brochures, held our first coffee clatch, and picked up two senior clients.

After a year of working with these lovely Golden Seniors, and watching them decline bona fide offers from qualified buyers, we realized the time/value ratio for this particular “niche” market wasn’t a good fit. We learned that seniors can be tough nuts to crack. In the most general of terms, they tend to have trust issues...they require a lot of individual attention...and they really hate change.

During my WTF-should-I-do-next period, I had more time to take care of my 91 year old mother who lives next door. Her needs were increasing and she appreciated the extra hands. My real estate hiatus also brought me back to regular conversations with regular people, many of which started with “How’s your mom?” and ended with “Let me know if I can help.” In between, we covered previously pointless aging parent topics like home health care, assisted living, and probate. Talking about these things with my peers felt unexpectedly therapeutic.... like co-miseration sessions with courageous caretaking comrades. You see, virtually all of us are on the road to becoming the primary caretakers of our aging mothers and fathers. Some of us more reluctantly than others.

Honestly, we should have seen this coming and been more prepared. We are a huge community of 50-70 year olds, taking care of 70-90 year olds. “Baby Boomers,” feels frivolous....like a statistical term used to quantify our demographics (“...72 million current Baby Boomers were born between 1946 and 1964”...blah, blah, blah). We are so much more than that! As adult children of aging parents (ACAPs) we are often charged with the ridiculously important task of caring for Mom and Dad who now regularly live to be 100+....and often live with US. We are first-time parents again, but our charges are growing old instead of up. And we are woefully underrepresented in the blogosphere, hence, woefully unheard.

50 Shades of Aging is a place for ACAPs to share the peaks and pitfalls of caring for aging parents... a kind of modified “mommy blog” where we can learn from each other and talk about the gritty emotional stuff that so often accompanies our caretaking efforts... the parent/child baggage we still have strapped to our backs, regardless of our age or circumstance. Those previously pointless topics of health care, assisted living and probate will also be covered, but from the ACAP perspective.

With our parents outliving their money, and increased competition for senior housing, chances are good we'll find ourselves in the business of caretaking -sooner rather than later.  It's a ho-hum certainty in some countries, but here in the great USofA, we are just tipping the iceberg. So lean in and share your experiences if you think they'll help others!