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At precisely 8:45 on the morning of March 9th, I was eagerly looking forward to adjusting to an extra hour on the first day of Daylight Savings Time.  Yet I had no preparation for that moment, when a simple phone call would knock me off my feet.

My beloved grandfather passed in his sleep on that morning, and was found by my mother at breakfast time.  He passed in the home where he and my grandmother raised five children, fifteen grandchildren and fourteen great-grandchildren.  It is also where my single, never-married aunt cared for him during his shift to a life as a double leg amputee for the last eight years, prior to which she took care of my ailing grandmother, who passed in 1990.  

My focus now turns to my mother, three years shy of 70.  A winter bout with pneumonia (which she stubbornly tried to self-medicate for an entire week before going to the doctor) lets me know that it’s only a matter of time that I will find myself becoming responsible for her care.  Although I have three siblings (a married sister raising a family in Florida and two brothers who are in New York with our mother), I will gladly step up to the plate, seeing I am a Mama's Girl with unconditional love.    

According to a Pew Research Center study, 1 in 8 Americans aged 40 to 60 is part of the "Sandwich Generation", providing care for both their own children, as well as their aging parents.  

Which poses the question: where do single adults like me and my aunt  fall into this [Link Removed] which officially began its own month of awareness this month?  Are we considered Wraps, having to fold our preconceived "responsibility-free" lifestyle around elder care?  The reality sets in with the cost to this single gal, albeit child-free, who has to oversee the care of an elderly parent.  The national average cost for a year in a nursing home is estimated to be well over $45,000, and the average daily cost for a private room within a nursing home here in Memphis is $158.50, just shy of the national average of $181.24 (Source: 2003 MetLife Market Survey).   I can't foresee my siblings chipping in, knowing their children's future college education expenses are right around the corner.

Only for my mom would I be willing to let go of that dream of a spare bedroom-turned-walk-in shoe closet...


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