I am getting increasingly interested in the challenges of what I now refer to as the “economics of aging”. Many boomers are members of what I call the “club sandwich” generation. That is, we are, in some fashion, caring for our aging parents, our adult children, grandchildren and trying to “save” enough for our own retirement. This multi-generation care-giving is real and stressful. A recent article in USAToday (July 30, 2014. B-1) entitled “Retirement’s a Boon Elusive to Boomers” speaks tot he issue of the stresses and strain; emotionally, spiritually and especially financially, of boomers. The piece’s author, Rodney Brooks, quotes a Wells Fargo officer who reminded us (as if we needed it) that we are being squeezed by two things: “Young people who are struggling to get jobs, and parents who are living longer. The latest statistics from a National Endowment for Financial Education survey say 42% of people ages 18-29 are getting some kind of financial help from their parents”. The boundary issues (i.e. how much can we do, how much should we do and what about our own security as we age?) are real for many of us. Often the question is asked, how far can we go before our own security is endangered? The psycho-spiritual issues here are very real. Our tradition does have some guidelines for these situations. The Brooks article goes on to list a series of suggestions, including safe guarding one;s own emotional and financial health. These conversations about “boundaries” will, I sense, become more important in the next several years.
Rabbi Richard F. Address, D.Min, is the Founder and Director of www.jewishsacredaging.com. Rabbi Address served for over three decades on staff of the Union for Reform Judaism; first as a Regional Director and then, beginning in 1997, as Founder and Director of the URJ’s Department of Jewish Family Concerns and served as a specialist and consultant for the North American Reform Movement in the areas of family related programming. Rabbi Address was ordained from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1972 and began his rabbinic career in Los Angeles congregations. He also served as a part time rabbi for Beth Hillel in Carmel, NJ while regional director and, after his URJ tenure, served as senior rabbi of Congregation M’kor Shalom in Cherry Hill, NJ from 2011-2014.