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Why Harper Lee was decades ahead of her time with Go Set a Watchman
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The first chapter of Go Set a Watchmen is out, thanks to The Wall Street Journal. Here's why modern Americans can identify with it. - photo by Herb Scribner
Get ready you can pick up a copy of Go Set a Watchman" by Harper Lee, the sequel to the Pulitzer Prize-winning To Kill a Mockingbird.

The novels first chapter, though, is available now on The Wall Street Journal. It features the original novels main character, Jean Louise Scout Finch, arriving via train in Macomb county, her home. Shes back for one purpose to visit with her father Atticus, who has taken ill and may not have a lot of time left to live.

Though this novel was originally written in 1957 it was, after all, Lees first attempt at a novel before her editor suggested writing the book that we now know as To Kill a Mocking Bird," WSJ reported it still hits on an important issue today: a child uprooting her life to take care of her ill parents.

When Jean Louise first steps off the train, shes greeted by her childhood friend and romantic partner, Henry Hank Clinton, who updates Scout on her fathers condition. Atticus cant squeeze his hands, hes not allowed to drive and he cant even hold a razor, according to the excerpt.

Many Americans can identify with this. A 2009 study from the AARP and the National Alliance for Caregiving found that at least 43 percent of Americans take care of their elderly parents, many of which are suffering from illnesses and disease.

But taking care of a parent in modern America is easier said than done. It can take a financial toll on the children, who have just started to raise a family and build a life of their own, according to recent reports.

The Associated Press reported today that the sandwich generation older Americans who are raising young children while also taking care of their elder parents are worried about their own future care. In fact, one in 10 people in the sandwich generation feel they wont be able to save enough money for their own care because they spend so much on their own children and parents.

It doesn't help that most Americans struggle to find work-life balance, as they go right from their daily job to taking care of their parents, according to Deseret News Nationals Devon Merling.

Caregiving is so physically and emotionally demanding, and some people have to cut back hours or retire early to take care of an elderly relative, said Laura Polacheck of AARP told Merling. Caregiving is a full-time job, and if you already have a full-time job, youre left with no time at all."

This has caused parents to stretch their schedules thin, according to the AP.

"If my mom needs something badly, I get pulled away from my kids a lot," Kamila Al-Najjar, a California mother of two, told The AP. "You're dealing with someone who is aging, toward the end of their life; then you have to deal with a teenager. I hear from my mom and daughter that I'm a nag. There's no winning in it.

Caregiving often leads to financial struggles for the children who take care of their parents because of increases in daily expenses and monthly payments, according to MarketWatch. And, depending on what the parents illness is, it may require children to remodel their homes or search for additional help, like a stay-at-home nurse, so that their parent receives full care, MarketWatch reported.

So what can Americans do to make sure their parents are taken care of while also preparing for their own health issues? MarketWatch suggests that Americans speak with an attorney or financial planner before providing assistance to a parent to determine which financial matters make sense. It may also help to consult with a physician, who can recommend the necessary, and more afforable, care plans for the parent.

Following these suggestions will help adult children stay financially secure and allow parents to live out the rest of their days in peace, according to MarketWatch.

It is an important decision to bring your aging parents to live in your home, but it can be a wonderful experience if approached with careful financial planning and guidance, MarketWatch reported. It's also an opportunity to make your parent's later years pleasant and comfortable. That translates to peace of mind for them and you.
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