Most parents joyfully anticipate the addition of a newborn to their family. For the sandwich generation, it’s different. Does anyone really anticipate bringing a parent or grandparent into their home to care for them long term? Isn’t that kind of thinking a little naive? Aren’t old folks better off being tucked away somewhere where they won’t be in the way? And shouldn’t the medical professionals take care of them? After all, isn’t old age a disease?

Taking care of an elderly parent can be challenging, complicated, and downright scary at times. Unlike babies who eventually adapt your family’s routine, the elderly  slow you down and cause you to adapt to theirs. Some describe it as having their lives turned upside down or feeling like life has come to a screeching halt. That’s how I felt when we first brought Grandpa home.

Taking care of Grandpa reminds me of when my children were little, only different. Let’s face it, babies are cute and cuddly and don’t weigh very much. 165 pound Grandpas can be cute, too, but unlike babies, they’re generally viewed as more of a burden than a blessing.

When I was sharing with a friend how we took Grandpa out of the nursing home and how crazy our lives had become as a result, she wisely said, “Selfish people calculate, loving people act.” Her insight brought me peace.

There is a huge difference between calculating the cost and counting the cost. A calculating heart says, What’s in it for me? A heart that counts the cost says, Jesus paid the ultimate price for my freedom. Can I do less for others?

Taking care of Grandpa has drastically changed my life and the lives of my husband and children. I’m glad we didn’t stop to calculate the cost. Seeing Dad alone at the most vulnerable time in his life moved us to act. It has come at a great price to everyone involved, but that’s okay, he’s worth it.