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Caring for an Elderly Parent

The fact that people are now living longer is a triumph of our modern age. This also means that people, especially those in the "Baby Boomer" generation, are having to face increasing needs from the elderly community. On The Early Show, we met two sisters who have the unusual challenge of caring for a mother with Alzheimer's who lives in New York, and a father living in Florida.

For the Lowenger sisters, life is an example of the parents becoming the children. Phylis and Shelly Lowenger deal with their mother Sarah's Alzheimer's disease on a daily basis, while she resides in a nursing home in Brooklyn, N.Y. Their father Al, recovering from heart surgery, still lives in the elderly couple's home in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

It's a tough part of their adult lives for the daughters. Their father's separation creates a lot of guilt, and feelings of isolation on their father's end. He is provided with in-house cooking and cleaning care, and has a geriatric nurse come in two times a week. Still, at 1200 miles away, the sisters say long-distance phone conversations just don't provide the information they seek about his wellbeing.

The National Family Caregiver's Association reports that guilt and isolation are very common for family members struggling to adjust as their parents are less able to take care of themselves. The Lowenger sisters are quick to declare how close this experience has brought them. They have been forced to rely on one another daily; they say that having to cope with the constant care giving makes them stronger for tomorrow's tasks.

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