Due to the pandemic, the Jones family canceled their annual barbecue. Unable to get together for a long time, they decide to celebrate Grandma Carolyn’s seventy-seventh birthday on Zoom. At least a virtual party would be better than nothing.
The entire four generations of the Jones family attend. Everyone enjoys the party, but they also notice Grandma Carolyn’s frailty. Grandpa James had to help her stand up to blow out the candles on her birthday cake. Everything seemed to be moving in slow motion and everyone left the Zoom call concerned about Grandma Carolyn.
Grandma Carolyn’s daughter, Jodi, is especially dismayed by what she saw. Over the last year, she has gradually taken on more and more caregiver duties, such as shopping, preparing meals, driving them to appointments that involve heavily trafficked or high-speed roads, speaking with doctors about treatments, running errands, doing laundry, and changing bed linens. It’s been a gradual process. As a result, she doesn’t really even associate all that she is doing with caregiving. Her father, James, always offers to help, but with his pacemaker and family history of heart failure, Jodi typically politely refuses.
Jodi’s husband and two children see how each new responsibility takes its toll on Jodi. Sleep deprivation, unhealthy eating habits, and lack of exercise are just a few of the signs of her stress and overburdened schedule. After the birthday party, they fear that things are getting worse. Jodi’s daughter, Nicole, even suspects that there also has been financial effects that her mom hasn’t mentioned. She and her brother, Erik, talk and decide to take action before things get worse. Erik texts his sister a link to an article to use as a jumping off point for a conversation about planning for long-term care. They call their dad, Jackson, for advice. He explains that the topic is sort of taboo, but he offers to approach Jodi to start a conversation.
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