There are many books out there that will tell you what to do IF your parents become demented. But really, do you need to fork out the $29.99 for a self-help book if you don't even know if you will need it? Do I buy the book, or not?
Here's a quick quiz to determine your odds of becoming a Panini.
I. My parents are:
a. Really great. They're 80 years old, and have done all their estate planning and are cheerfully ensconced in their retirement community.
b. Really pretty ok. They're 65 years old, and have done some wills and medical forms, but they are still living in that funky house.
c. Really not too bad. They are 75 years old and are only now becoming aware of their impending demise.
d. Really a mess. They are 80 years old and I haven't spoken to my dad ever since he was convicted.
II. My siblings and I:
a. Get along great! I'd have no hesitation about taking a walking trip across Nepal with all of them, and their spouses, too!
b. Sometimes have our differences, but we always work them out.
c. Do o.k. as long as we don't have to spend too much time together.
d. Left home at 18 and only occasionally exchange Christmas cards.
III. My parents (family) possessions:
a. Mean nothing to me, just stuff.
b. There are a few things I'd like to have, but mostly I don't care.
c. I think it should all be divided up evenly.
d. Are all exquistely imbued with deep emotional meaning, and my siblings would steal them all if they could!
IV. My children and my husband:
a. Are united together as a loving group, through thick and thin.
b. Have our ups and downs, but we all love each other and work hard together to work it out.
c. Are mostly a burden, but this is the path we're on for the present.
d. If that asshole doesn't get up off that sofa and take these little brats out of here I swear I will start screaming!
V. I find it stressful:
a. I never find it stressful, I am serene and relaxed all the time.
b. When things get super busy, but I am good about handling my self-care.
c. When things get too busy for me, and I get stressed if I don't get it all done.
d. See quiz IV, answer (d).
If you answered mostly (a) you will probably never be a Panini, or if you are you will sail through it with Martha Stewart like aplomb. Don't bother spending the 29.99.
If you answered mostly (b) you have a greater chance of becoming a Panini, but it probably won't bother you greatly. If you see a good eldercare book on sale, you might buy it for informational purposes.
If you answered mostly (c) you will definitely be a Panini, so go to amazon.com, order 3 books and devote a weekend to reading them and taking notes.
If you answered mostly (d) you already are a Panini, skip the books and go directly to the Alheimer's Hotline for help.
Thanks for taking this quiz. One final word of caution: Very few people die instantly of a heart attack while doing kickboxing class on the Lido deck of a Caribbean cruiseship. It's probably not prudent to plan your end of life around that scenario.