The Wrenching Truth About Having an Older Mom
Dvora Meyers on her experience being born to a 42-year-old
By Kate Seamons, Newser Staff
Posted Jan 16, 2013 10:31 AM CST

(Newser) – There's no question whether Dvora Meyers loves her mom. The Brooklyn-based writer calls her near-daily, accompanies her on doctors' visits, maintains a spreadsheet of her medications, and worries—constantly, it seems—about the seventysomething's failing heath. But she didn't expect to be dealing or coming to terms with her mom's "long, slow decline" before the age of 30. As Meyers explains on Slate, her mother had her at age 42, and while Meyers always pictured herself "in my late 30s, married with a family, [with] my mother as an attentive grandmother," the reality is, painfully, quite the opposite.

Meyers is single, trying to make it as a writer, and faced with things like a frantic call from an aunt who insists Meyers needs to move in with her mom and care for her. Her reaction? "'But I’m still in my 20s,' I choked out." And she found herself, "for the first time in two years of trying to manage my mother's health, furious—at my aunt for her demands ... and at my mother for having me at an advanced age, which is about as reasonable as wishing you hadn’t been born." And it's made her question whether she erred in not creating a young life more "conducive to caretaking," and in not yet settling down, "which maybe puts me on the same path my mother followed, having a child in my 40s." Her full piece is a worthwhile read.

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Jan 17, 2013 11:16 AM CST
Taking care of your parents in their advanced years is just what you do.
Jan 17, 2013 7:31 AM CST
I looked after my 50-year-old husband for two years when he was dying of liver disease. Why isn't Ms. Meyers asking for help from others, like friends or relatives? Why hasn't she sought out resources in her community-- social workers, visiting nurses, church and temple volunteer networks-- to give her a break from caregiving? Why isn't she seeing this situation as a temporary experience that could add richness to her life by teaching her about compassion and selflessness? She'll get back to her own life in due time and she might have some deep experiences she can mine for later work in her writing career. We don't get to plan how our lives turn out. We just have to live them the best we can with what's available to us, and that's the way it is for all of us.
Jan 17, 2013 2:55 AM CST
The truth is, when we talk about the "family" taking care of an elderly relative, we usually mean some "woman" in the family. The men will sometimes "help" periodically, when they get around to it. But most of the down and dirty work goes to a woman.