I was recently sitting in the baggage claim of Boston's Logan Airport waiting for my son’s plane to arrive from Denver when a simple airport rendezvous turned into an unexpected rescue mission of sorts.
While I was waiting, an elderly woman approached asking if she could borrow a phone to call her son who was late picking her up. Over the course of the next hour I would learn that it wasn't that simple. Her memory was betraying her with forgotten phone numbers, her own lost cell phone and confusion about what terminal and meeting place she was currently in and had previously agreed upon with her son. She was clearly disorientated and unsure of how to escape her predicament. Her long flight from Florida had no doubt contributed to her fatigue and confusion. We were able to get her son’s phone number from the airline and reached him. But, I was afraid she would just wander off so I stayed with her even after my son arrived to make sure we addressed each challenge until she safely met up with her family connection. You all know what I was thinking – What if it was my mother?
As my son and I talked about this after she had gone, we lamented the fact that she probably shouldn't have been travelling by herself but that it's hard for family members to know when their long distance relative is struggling beyond the normal daily life responsibilities and in unfamiliar surroundings.
This experience reminded me of a previously published article, "When the Parent Becomes the Child", which identifies ideas and solutions if you find yourself in a similar situation with aging parents or other family members and friends. As you meet your family and friends for Thanksgiving and throughout the holiday season we wish you all happiness, safety, and health. Our goal is to make sure we help individuals and families work towards financial security but also to help guide when life changing events happen. Until we meet again, all the best and please let us know if we can be of any help to you and your family and friends.