12/17/2017

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Baby Boomers
Sandwiched Between Retirement & Caregiving
by Sandra W. Haymon, Ph.D.

We are the boomers. We demanded to have it all, and now that we've got it, we don't know what to do with it. It has become the Frankenstein that may destroy us, or at least take away our sense of peace and well-being, to say nothing of our physical health. How ironic. Many of us were he flower children-males as well as females wearing flowers in our long, flowing hair. Some draped symbols of peace around their necks and painted peace signs on their vans, book covers, and vests. A common greeting was the universal symbol of peace--index and middle finger spread apart while our thumbs held down our ring and little fingers. Many of us rebelled against the establishment, protested inequality, rallied for change, and vowed to live our lives differently than our parents had lived theirs.

It seems such a paradox that we were all about peace, and now many seem to be drowning in a cesspool of anxiety, frustration, depression, and anger--everything but peace. It is also ironic that this same cluster of symptoms is now referred to as the "caregiver syndrome." Our overt expressions of protest have given way to internalizing our feelings of dissatisfaction. In the 1960's, protests included recruiting thousands for marches, staging sit-ins to represent the masses, and chaining ourselves to fences, lest anyone should misunderstand our position on the controversial issue of the day. These media attention displays have now been replaced with unseen, individual, internal protests. However, it is also ironic that once again, millions of us are simultaneously protesting in hopes of affecting change. But now, our voices of protest are heard loudest in the quiet recesses of our very soul. Thus, the change we affect is now negative and detrimental to us--to our very physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health.

We often yell at those with foreign accents on the other end of the phone nearly half a world away as we desperately attempt to get information. We ask our questions over and over, only to be put on hold or even worse, to be disconnected and have to start all over again. We shake our heads in disbelief at the constant barrage of mistakes and misinformation offered by sales clerks, receptionists, doctors, lawyers, bankers, accountants, and financial advisors. God Forbid we try to obtain accurate information from anyone connected with Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security. Most of those folks are more confused and know less than we do. Our blood boils when we realize they are just telling us something, anything, to get us off the phone. To add insult to injury, most of what they say doesn't even make sense. Thus, our blood pressure goes up, gastric juices pour into our stomachs, and negative neurochemicals flood our brains, causing a chain reaction throughout our entire bodies.

The damage done by our internal protests is revealed when we seek medical attention for high blood pressure, angina, gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD), chronic fatigue, insomnia, erectile dysfunction, depression, anxiety, obesity, memory loss, joint pain, diabetes, and a host of other ailments secondary to stress overload. They quietly rob us, like a thief in the night, of our sense of peace and well-being. We're often left feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, irritated, alone, and afraid.

Baby boomers are finding themselves in a place they have never been before. The sandwich generation is now sandwiched between planning their own retirement and providing care for elderly loved ones.

In Dr. Sandra W. Haymon's new book, Baby Boomers-Sandwiched Between Retirement and Caregiving, the multitude of choices faced by baby boomers are discussed in easy-to-understand terms and illustrated through Haymon's personal experiences.

Haymon guides readers through the 'alphabet soup' of financial planning for retirement and the legal, medical forms needed to ensure last wishes are carried out. She also carefully leads readers through emotions commonly felt by caregivers, their families, and the elderly who are being taken care of.

Complete with an extensive list of resources, checklists, and a glossary of terms, Baby Boomers--Sandwiched Between Retirement & Caregiving is the must-have book for all who are or will ever be a caregiver or plan to retire.

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