Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

This 'New Face of Elder Care' Is Getting Wrinkles

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

This 'New Face of Elder Care' Is Getting Wrinkles

Article excerpt

Last week, I went to the grocery store to pick up a little of this ... a little of that ... and eight bags of coffee. Four bags for my pantry in New Jersey, four bags for my pantry on Long Island.

Do I drink that much coffee? Not all at once.

I do tend to stock up, though, because seeing four bags of coffee in the house is soothing. And, of course, nerve-jangling.

Anyway, as long as we're speaking of fours here, it's been four years since I took on what I jokingly refer to as my "bi-coastal" existence, shuttling between my house in Wood-Ridge and the apartment I rent in my parents' house in Babylon, N.Y.

They're in their mid-80s now, and I had it in my head that it would be good to spend more time with them. Help them out. Take care of them when they needed taking care of. And, deal with ... oh, I don't know ... whatever else came up.

So far, it's been interesting. Sweet. Soothing. And, of course, nerve-jangling.

Today, when friends call me on my cellphone, their first question, invariably, is "Where are you?"

Sometimes, even I'm not sure.

But as I begin Year Five, I'm feeling good about the decision, for all sorts of reasons and despite a few unfortunate downsides.

Certainly, it's been an expense. Carrying a rent and a mortgage is a handful. And for what I spent setting up the apartment -- buying new furniture, carpeting, electronics equipment, etc. -- I could have taken 30 trips to Europe.

Then there's the commute. When I meet new people and they ask where I live, my standard reply is: "I have a house in New Jersey and an apartment on Long Island. So, basically, I live on the Cross- Bronx Expressway."

And then there's good old human nature: My parents drive me crazy and I drive them crazy.

So it is. So it always shall be.

In the beginning, boundaries were an issue. For a while, my father used to walk in and out of my apartment at all hours of the day and night without so much as a knock on the door.

I'd be sitting at my computer and the next thing I knew he'd pop up next to me -- like Uncle Arthur on "Bewitched" - and I'd scream and jump three feet into the air.

"Ahh!!!"

But there's been good stuff, too. …

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