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Just Exactly How Old is Old?

12 Jun

Old ladies aren’t supposed to run around and jump up and down and play games all the time. Old people are supposed to sit around talking about the weather…” *

One of my brothers likes to remind me about a time when I was 16 and I referred to his then 30-year-old boss as ancient. Now contrast my naive teenage words of wisdom with those of my seven-year-old:

The other night I was reading a book to my son in which a group of second graders were concerned their gym teacher would soon die if she didn’t start curtailing her many athletic activities. As I read the words “Miss Small is a quarter of a century old. That’s like ancient,” my son could be heard shouting “No it isn’t you dumb heads. She’s 25! That’s not old! Old is like 90!”

Obviously my son at seven has a better sense of  what it means to be old than I did at 16. I bet we all have a different opinion about what age we consider to be old.  So just exactly how old do you think is old? And do you really think age matters?

*Gutman, Dan. Miss Small is Off the Wall, Harper Collins, 2009.

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How Going Back to School at 50+ Helped Me Get My Professional Groove Back

16 Apr

My going back to professional life after five years out of the workforce required perseverance and a plan.  Going back to school part-time for upgrading was what made my efforts succeed.  I engaged my brain in vigorous exercise (which aging experts highly recommend for staving off dementia) and I landed a job in a field of communications that was just getting started when I thought my career was ending. I’ve since completed one program at the University of Toronto and am two-thirds the way through a certificate in digital strategy and communications management.  When a representative of U. of T.’s School of Continuing Education heard how I went from dubious doubter to converted  zealot, she asked me to tell my story to a reporter. And I happily obliged. The piece appeared in yesterday’s print and online editions of The Toronto Star.

Read the article here.

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A Unique Sandwich Generation Conflict: Nursing Home or Private School Tour

10 Apr

Is this the Ultimate Midlife-Parenthood, Sandwich Generation Dilemma?

The  all-too-frequent question of whether to send the children to public school or private school  is often a major issue in many households.  But midlife-first-time parents are just as likely to be debating whether they have time for a private school tour or a nursing home tour.  That’s the dilemma I’m currently facing.  I just learned  that tours of a long term care home which might be suitable for my mother are only held on the same day and time this week as a tour I am supposed to take of a potential school for my son.

So which would you choose — nursing home tour for elderly parent or private school tour for a young child with learning differences?

Fresh Side Friday — Love Notes from a Seven Year Old.

19 Apr

Before I head off to do battle on behalf of the older side of the sandwich to which I am the meat in the middle, I did want to add something for this Fresh Side Friday.

M. loves his mom2

Some might think it’s hard to parent such a young child on my own while dealing with the needs of aging family members. I think my arrival at parenthood so late in life is a blessing. And I’m grateful for having a seven-year-old rather than a teenager right now. My son is indeed a  handful of silliness and potty talk, but I’ll gladly take his poop tales over my mother’s. And I will happily take notes like this over teenage angst any day.

Tales from the Fresh Side of the Sandwich: A Very Good Friday

29 Mar


Yesterday was devoted to death and taxes. Today was about fun with the son. We went to the park, rode bikes, and I even helped him build a 3D dinosaur.

Balancing Work, Childcare, & Eldercare, A New Study on Canada’s Current Sandwich Generation

27 Mar

I am a boomer. Albeit a late-end boomer, but a boomer still.  Advances in birth control gave us the ability to delay marriage and children. And we established greater than ever participation (62% as per the 2006 Canada Census) of women in the workforce.  We’re living longer than ever and so are our parents. The result is an increasing number of Canadians simultaneously caring for young children and elderly relatives while holding down full-time jobs.

We are the sandwich generation. Ours is a world of trying to balance paid work, parenting, and caring for chronically ill parents. We’re almost always tired. We’re prone to being cranky. If able to hold down a job too, we’re prone to making mistakes and more likely than our colleagues to turn down promotions. Those who can swing it financially are leaving their jobs, draining the workforce of highly educated, experienced professionals. But we are stretched already.  And when we start hitting our 80s, someone is going to have to take care of us. Continue reading

Pre-Schoolers and Old People

20 Mar

I have spent the better part of the last five years dealing with the world of dementia and elder care. And when I started down this path, it was with a pre-school-age child in tow. Before my uncle and my mother became ill, I would have thought there could not be any two more disparate groups of individuals than young children and seniors with dementia. I was so wrong. Little kids and people with dementia actually have a lot in common. Neither are burdened by inhibition or complex thought processes. And while both are prone to tantrums and frustration, it can take very little to get a smile out of either.
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