USA Today

WWYD – What would you do?

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Here’s a new category of posts in which I will provide a circumstance, and you can provide your potential response; similar to a television show in the United States for which I’ve seen ads.

Here’s the circumstance that I encountered today that has inspired this initial post:

I walked into my local grocery store today, and waited at the Customer Service counter to cash in my winning lotto ticket:  $10    Woo hoo!  (The Customer Service counter is just outside of the public restrooms.)

English: I photographed this picture from a pu...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As I waited for customer service, what did I see, but a male customer exiting the men’s bathroom, with a USA Today newspaper in his hands.  It doesn’t take an advanced educational degree to discern what this customer had just done – in the bathroom, with a newspaper.  By the way – USA Today is just one of many newspapers found on shelves approximately 20 feet inside the store’s entrance that one can pick up and purchase at checkout.

But that’s not all.  This customer then placed the very same newspaper – no longer a virgin-clean newspaper – on one of the seldom-used checkout counters, gathered his shopping cart where he had parked it while he did his business in the bathroom, and then happily proceeded to do his shopping.

As luck would have it, this same gentleman was right in front of me paying for his groceries while I loaded up the checkout counter with my soon-to-be-purchased items.  He walked away, I took my place at the checkout counter, glanced over at the seldom-used counter near the public restrooms, and there lay the USA Today, in all its tainted glory.

What would you do?

Postscript: A family member/reader suggested that the newspaper reader may have indeed already paid for the USA Today.  I agree, that’s a possible scenario.  Let’s take that thought a wee bit further, shall we?  Perhaps the paper had been paid for and the newspaper reader left it on the checkout stand so that someone else may enjoy the day’s news, free of charge.  (What a generous thought on my part.)

Even going with that wonderfully generous supposition, shouldn’t the next person on the receiving end of the free newspaper have been made aware of the previous owner’s potty antics e.g., perhaps the satisfied pottier could have placed a sign on the newspaper stating that this issue of USA Today had already spent considerable time in the men’s bathroom and therefore, in full disclosure, you have first right of refusal should you decide not to read a newspaper that has been in close proximity to someone’s morning duty?

New roommate paradigm: adult children & their parents.

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Historically, it’s the adult children who move back into the parents’ home, oftentimes because of financial issues.  Apparently that is no longer the sole definition of multi-generational living.

In a USA Today article, Who’s moving in? Adult kids, aging parents, Haya El Nasser writes, “(A)bout one in seven say they already have a ‘boomerang kid’ – an adult child who moves back home – or elderly parent living under their roof.”

This brings about two unexpected events:

  • The parents who enjoyed their empty nest and started to reestablish themselves as a couple, instead of just as parents, suddenly have an adult living with them who just happens to be the kid they gave birth to 30 years ago; or
  • The adult child who strove to establish his home with his spouse and their 2.5 kids suddenly have a parent living with them requiring just as much attention, if not more, than the young children they themselves brought into this world.

The USA Today article above focuses on a rising trend towards families deciding to purchase larger homes than they would have previously considered with the anticipation that it would be more economical to have other adult family members living in – and contributing to – the same household.  Talk about a paradigm shift!  Stephen Melman, director of economic services at the National Association of Home Builders says, “I remember when I was in college, no one wanted to be near their parents.”  That thought certainly resonates with me.  When I was single in my 20s and early 30s there was no such luxury of renting a place on my own and living-at-home was definitely not an option.  At one time I had two roommates so all three of us shared the same bathroom, kitchen and common living space.  Inconvenient and not as private as we would have liked?  Certainly – but the only way to afford housing and have the ability to put away money for our future was to split costs with other like-minded adults.

A Pew Research report earlier this year showed that “the share of Americans living in multi-generational households is at its highest since the 1950s.”  OMG!  As a Baby Boomer who was born in 1953, I just have to repeat, “OMG!!!!!”

My focus today is on the caregiving issue – that adult children and/or Baby Boomers find themselves with the added responsibility as caregiver to a loved one.  In my article Start your retirement – start your job as a family caregiver I address the caregiving aspect of Baby Boomer retirement which sometimes evolves into multi-generational living.  Our quality of life definition tends to change as family caregiving is added to our lives.  But it’s a fact of life for many of us and one that very few can escape.  But herein lies the problem…

Most of us aren’t prepared for that eventuality.  Those of us who are counting the days until retirement kid ourselves into believing that caregiving happens to others, not to us.  And our adult children find it difficult to wrap their minds around that type of living scenario whilst in the midst of their hectic career development and ever-changing family dynamics.

So what happens?  We find ourselves in an emergent situation that requires immediate action that may not be well-thought out because we don’t have the time to make a well-informed decision.  We all know that the worse time to make a life-changing decision is in an emergency.  There is a wealth of information available at our fingertips – the worldwide web is replete with helpful resources.  Even this website has many articles written on the subject.  As you browse through this website’s categories, be sure to enter a search term in the “Search My Site” box located at the right-hand side of each content page.

I’m not suggesting that you finalize plans that might not be implemented until many years down the road – or at all.  What I am suggesting, however, is that we all become aware that a) these issues exist and could very well happen in our own lives; and b) we’re going to do what we can now to make wise decisions later.