Adult children taking care of parents

My grandma had a stroke yesterday. (I know--how many action-packed events can be crammed into three weeks of one woman's life, and you don't even know the half of it.)

Fortunately, my uncle lives in her same town. And my mom and dad were there with her when it happened on their annual trip to her house. So she got to the hospital right away and they were able to give her blood thinners to help mitigate the effects. My cousin's last report last night is that she's already got some function back.

This made me wonder about how we're going to juggle it all. Some of you know that I watched my own dad have a stroke five years ago. His recovery was unbelievably easy (relatively speaking) because we got him to the hospital right away.
But if it hadn't been, how would I have managed to help my mom? I live 500 miles away and I had a toddler.

So I wanted to talk about exactly this: How do we care for parents who are living longer but might have health problems that need to be managed? How do we juggle the priorities? What are the actual (not perceived) challenges? How do we keep healthy under the emotional pressure?

I'm going to BlogHer today, so you can follow me at Twitter ( or by reading the Twitter feed over in the right-hand column.