Tue., May 29, 2012 3:15am (EDT)

Family Matters: Pitching In To Take Care Of Grandma
By David Greene
Updated: 2 years ago

Chris Martin, 14, greets his great-grandmother AnnaBelle Bowers, 87, who lives part time with the Martin family in Harrisburg, Pa. Occasionally, Chris stays at home to watch "Snootzie," as the family affectionately calls her, when his parents are busy.
On a recent evening, the Martin family of Harrisburg, Pa., had too many places it needed to be.

AnnaBelle Bowers, the 87-year-old matriarch of the family who is also known as "Snootzie," was at home watching television and getting ready for bed.

Someone needed to care for her. That fell to Chris Martin, her 14-year-old great-grandson.

His willingness to stay at home meant his sister, Lauren, could play in a softball game.

It also meant her parents, David and LaDonna Martin, could watch.

The Martins are faced with decisions like this all the time and they're one of the families profiled in NPR's Family Matters series. More and more, multigenerational families like the Martins are living under the same roof in order to care for a loved one and also get by.

LaDonna says nights at the ballpark would be impossible if everybody didn't pitch in to care for Snootzie. That includes the kids.

"I think we expect a little bit more from them," says LaDonna. "They've got to grow up."

It's also forcing the family to think about the future in new ways.

"I hope they're fit when they're 60, 70s, 80s," Lauren says about her parents. "But I know it'll be time when they're in a walker and can't walk anymore and need help ... but I'll be ready when they're old."


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