Family Relationships

Join other women in the sandwich generation - share ideas and solutions as you learn to nourish family relationships without starving yourself.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Stepping Stones Through the Years

To celebrate the 75th anniversary issue of our newsletter, Stepping Stones, this week we are highlighting some of the past issues. You can find archived copies on our website, Click on "Newsletter Library" to read Stepping Stones going all the way back to 2001. For the articles appearing in newsletters after 2006, click on the link labeled "Nourishing Relationships." Here are some tidbits from some of those past newsletters:

In one newsletter, we suggested you initiate a conversation with your partner about your relationship:

We recognize that it can be difficult to begin this kind of a discussion. Eleanor describes her situation - does it sound familiar? "And then there is this communication thing. When I try to talk to my husband about what's going on with me I get one of two reactions. The first is a blank stare and I become aware that he hasn't the foggiest notion what I mean or what I need from him. The second is an annoyed response, with the realization that we are going in two very different directions."
Elderly Couple Looking Disappointed

Communication is as important at this stage in your life as it has always been in maintaining a strong and satisfying relationship. We have compiled a few questions to get you started in your exchange of ideas. It may be most helpful to first answer them separately and then come together to discuss your thoughts. Listen to your partner without judgment; stay positive and respectful of his ideas and opinions.

In another, Karen told her story about the diagnosis of a serious chronic illness and we reviewed some steps for simplifying life:

"It took several years to accept my new limitations, to mourn the old dream and to find a new one. Now, I pace myself and prioritize differently. I plan carefully to preserve my energy so there is time for work, rest, friends and family. There is less of each than I would have wanted but the balance makes it satisfying."

Karen has chosen to create a positive outlook on life in response to her negative health situation. Through a series of steps she has developed a philosophy of "less is more" that enables her to truly enjoy her life. She has adapted her interests and activities to accommodate her changed situation. She still does what is important to her - just differently.

Another issue of Stepping Stones focused on a Sandwiched Boomer coping with caring for an aging parent as she changed from Daddy's little girl to Dad's caregiver:

It was painful for Tricia, as her father declined in his 80's. "Dad and I shared such fun times together when I was young - he taught me how to ride a horse, shoot a BB gun, ice skate, stand on my head. He was always so active. Last year, I had to insist that he not drive anymore. Now, seeing him shuffle around just breaks my heart."

It's difficult to watch as your parents deteriorate. And they may complicate the situation by being in denial about their vulnerable condition. It's up to you to acknowledge the true state of affairs and be straightforward in dealing with their increasing fragility. A number of issues must be discussed, uncomfortable as that is - health care directives in an emergency, long-term care options, the designated power of attorney, distribution of income and assets. Yet after evaluating the practical issues that need to be managed, you will feel more in control as you gather detailed information and make arrangements for the most immediate concerns."

So whether you're working on the relationship with your life partner, coping with illness and stress in your life or caring for an aging parent as a Sandwiched Boomer, our newsletters have tips to help. To receive your own copy of Stepping Stones, simply click on the link below and to the left labeled "FREE Newsletter." Once a month, you'll receive Stepping Stones in your email box to read and enjoy at your leisure.

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