Posted by: bunnyfufu
on Aug 17, 2014
I’m 39 years old and I have a 3 year-old son and an 85 year-old father.
I am a full-fledged member of what is called The Sandwich Generation.
You know, those of us who had kids a little later in life and are now
raising young children while also dealing with aging, often rapidly
deteriorating, parents. My dad doesn’t live here but I recently went
back east with my children to visit my parents and it was tough to see
how much harder everything is for him lately. He’s on more than a
dozen different medications for all kinds of serious health problems and
he is beginning to have trouble walking. He is beginning to rely heavily
on my mom for even the simplest things, like getting up the 4 stairs
to the kitchen. I saw the strain on my mom’s face more than once and
at one point we discussed how we were actually in somewhat similar
situations in terms of the amount of anxiety involved with both raising a
toddler and living with an older adult who needs more and more care.
It used to be that most people had children when they were younger,
often in their 20’s. By the time our parents were getting older and
needing more help our kids were grown and out of the house.
Not anymore. Now most of my friends have children in preschool or
elementary school and also have parents dealing with cancer, heart
attacks, dementia, etc. Some of my friends have even had one of their
parents move in with them because it got to the point where they
couldn’t live alone anymore.
(Like our marriages aren’t strained enough with young children, bring
on our older parents who also need to be cared for to some degree...I’ve
seen it be more than some people can take.)
But there are things you can do, places your parents can go to alleviate
some of the stress on the family and to help older parents who may
often be home alone, cultivate some companionship among others in
similar situations. We often forget it’s not just hard on the family who
takes in their parents; it’s hard on the parents too. It’s hard for them to
admit they need help; it’s really hard for them to (often reluctantly but
out of necessity) leave their own homes.
That’s where Bear Creek Respite comes in. They provide day services
7 days a week that include drop-in or daily care with planned activities
for those who need supervision or assistance with daily living. Bear
Creek also provides short-term respite care with 24-hour professional
nursing services for family vacations, weekend getaways and
recuperation after hospitalization.
Bear Creek Respite Care Center was founded by Marian Steffes, M.N,
R.N. and I liked her the moment I met her. She is very warm, smiles
often and is incredibly capable. After over 25 years in the nursing
profession she has extensive experience in adult health care. She also
studied at The Culinary Institute of America and provides home-cooked,
well-balanced meals to the folks at Bear Creek and can accommodate
special diets as well. The atmosphere at Bear Creek is very welcoming
and comfortable. It feels like a quiet home, not a loud, sterile clinical
setting at all. I’ve been in a few times and, had my grandmother lived
here when she was older, it is definitely a place she would have loved to
go and play cards or have lunch with some people instead of being home
by herself so much. And I know my mom would feel so much better if
my dad could go to a place like Bear Creek Respite for a week so that
she could take a quick trip to visit her grandkids. As it is, she is already
scrambling to find enough friends to check in on him a few times a day
when she travels to see my sister have her first baby (at 36) this fall.
She is already so nervous about leaving him. I wish they lived here!
People should really take advantage of such a great facility with such a
genuine staff. It could be good for the whole family and take some of the
pressure off of those of us helping our young children and older family
members through the various stages of their lives.
Bear Creek Respite Care Center is located at 1002 East Kagy Blvd.
Bozeman, MT 59715. Call with any questions at 406-587-7002.