Sue "Suddie" Mann cares for both of her parents.
An attorney in Lafayette, she commutes to Baton Rouge as often as needed to offer that care.
"An hour is not so far," Mann says. "I'm blessed that I'm only an hour away."
While this type of life can take a toll on some, Mann says she would not have it any other way.
"I consider it a blessing to take care of parents who took care of us," Mann says. "We've done that before. I've seen my parents do that. That's a learned behavior. If you learn it, you hope that your own children see it."
But being part of the "sandwich generation" is not easy. As Family Tree Director Marie Collins explains, it comes with its own set of challenges.
"Suddenly you feel very alone because you don't know where to go," Collins, says. "I've had one of my board members who was recently going through that and she said that everything was new. Each time we went to a new agency, it was new. She said, 'I didn't know where to turn to because every case is different.' "
Family Tree is working to make getting information on being a caretaker easier by offering an "Aging Summit" this August. The goal of the event is to provide tools, guidance, and support to those who are taking care of or will begin taking care of aging individuals.
"We are all aging," Collins says. "We talk a lot about parenting in our community, but not a lot about aging. We need to start this conversation about what will happen as we get older."
Collins says there are dozens of agencies available to help families and professionals through the sometimes challenging experience of eldercare. Getting a push in the right direction, oftentimes, it is just what some caretakers need.
The Family Tree will host its inaugural Aging Summit on Sunday, August 25, 2019 from 1p - 4p
Doors will open at 12:00 pm at the UL Lafayette Student Union's Atchafalaya Ballroom. The summit will welcome a national speaker, local panelists, and regional vendors. Registration can be completed online and full details can be found below.
Sunday, August 25th
1pm - 4pm, doors open at noon
UL Student Union - Atchafalaya Ballroom
National Speaker, Eldercare Expert, and Author of 'How to take care of old people without losing your marbles,' Suzanne Blankenship, who will provide a keynote speech and lead a discussion panel on aging.
Tickets are $25 for General Admission and $50 for Admission+CEU Credits (Counseling or Social Work)
Parking available for free in the Olivier Parking Tower and Earl K. Long Parking Lot