There is new pressure on families today. Pensions have largely vanished and Social Security can’t cover the high cost of assisted living. A whopping 48% of households over the age of 55 have no retirement savings at all. America’s largest generation is currently reaching retirement age, and their children will find themselves taking time off work and dipping into their own savings to help. How Mom Died shines a spotlight on the challenges that Gen Xers and Millennials will face in the next decade, while navigating the health care system, insurance, and financial aid (MediCAL/Medicaid), in order to afford the care that their loved ones need.
Providing care for dementia/Alzheimers patients is challenging enough without the added strain of family drama. Roles become reversed, and every conversation can feel like it comes with layers of baggage. Such emotional entanglement can make caregivers feel hopeless and alone. Readers of How Mom Died can find comfort and healing in these pages, knowing that they are not alone in their struggles.
Immigrants and their children can experience a unique set of challenges when cultural expectations around aging and caregiving differ. In many cultures, children are expected to care for their aging elders, but in the United States elder care is viewed very differently. Often, immigrant parents are not planning for the high cost of assisted living, and expect to share a home with their children, in their old age. Left undiscussed, this culture shock catches many 2nd generation kids by surprise, and the disconnect can cause even more friction, as their parents' expectations are not met.
My mom was super mean! She may or may not have had borderline personality disorder but a lot of her anger might be due to what she went through, during and after the Korean war. During her decline, I found myself starting to inherit some of her baggage. I started becoming suspicious of her neighbors just like she was. I drank a lot more. How Mom Died explores how trauma can be inherited, but also countered through compassion.
In our carpe diem/FOMO/YOLO culture, people tend not to think about how to both live fully, but also die well. We are a culture obsessed with youth, pushing our aging population to the fringes. Our failure to face death leads to our resistance of aging. Put simply, when we deny death, we deny life. My comic aims to open up conversation about dying, making it less taboo so that we can lift some of the veils that prevent us from preparing for death or acknowledging death.