Springville Mother Finds Balance Between Raising Kids And Caring For Aging Mother

Sep 28, 2018, 8:57 AM | Updated: 9:09 am

SPRINGVILLE, Utah – It’s called the Sandwich Generation — people who are still raising their kids at home while also caring for their aging parents.

An influx of baby boomers and advanced medical technology is contributing to this development. “They’re living longer, but they are living with more complicated illnesses as well,” said Intermountain Healthcare’s Dr. Ericka Noonan, a geriatrician at Utah Valley Hospital.

More and more people are finding themselves in this situation, including Lydia Ruttenbur.

She is a mother of 10, with five still under the age of 18, and a grandma to twin baby girls who also live in her home. Additionally, she cares for her 73-year-old mother, Peggy, who has dementia.

Lydia Ruttenbur has a full house! She is a mother of ten, has her twin grand babies living with her, and cares for her 73-year-old mother who has dementia.

“About four years ago we started noticing that something wasn’t right,” Lydia Ruttenbur said.

She moved her mom into her home for full-time care.

Today, Peggy thinks Lydia Ruttenbur is her mother. “It’s a little weird to be the mom of your mom,” she described.

But, she cares for Peggy as if she is. She dresses Peggy, feeds Peggy and helps her get to the bathroom.

“When I did this, I said, ‘You know what? I’m a mom and I still need to raise my children,” Ruttenbur explained. “I can’t have my life wrapped around my mom.”

Lydia Ruttenbur splits up the responsibility of caring for her mother, Peggy, so she still has time to home school her children.

To lighten her load, she asks her kids for help. Her 13-year-old son, Jakob Ruttenbur, is usually the first one out of bed each morning. He gives Peggy her morning pills and makes her breakfast.

“Sometimes I get her toast. I get her eggs … She always comes around and says ‘That food was so good,’” Jakob Ruttenbur said. “It not only gives me something to do, but it helps me think she’s happy.”

“We all saw things which we liked to do with her,” Lydia Ruttenbur explained. Her daughters, Alissa and Hillari Ruttenbur, call dibs on TV time with Peggy. Watching “The Dick Van Dyke Show” and “The Andy Griffith Show” are household favorites.

Her other daughter takes Peggy on walks outside to get some fresh air. Breaking up the various chores and activities gives Lydia Ruttenbur time to homeschool her kids and to be a mom.

“Having the stress of caring for an aging parent increases the caregiver’s risk of chronic illness themselves or depression,” Noonan said.

She said it’s important for caregivers to make time for exercise, meditation, sleep and to ask for help.

“We encourage people to ask their family members (for help), to explain to them the stress that they’re experiencing … to ask their neighbors for help, to ask their church groups for help. Asking for help is hard, but so important,” Noonan said.

She encourages caregivers to reach out for help from caregiver support groups, local senior centers, the Veterans Affairs, or local agencies on aging which offer programs like Senior Companions and Meals on Wheels. Noonan said these agencies can also connect qualifying families with additional caregiver support in the home.

“Patients health suffers if the caregiver is not taking care of themselves,” Noonan said.

Local Support Groups

Utah County— Mountainland and Association of Governments

Salt Lake County— Salt Lake County

Davis County— Davis County Health Department

Weber County— Weber Human Services

Uintah County— Uintah Basin Association of Governments

Washington County— Washington County

Lydia Ruttenbur admits some days are longer than others.

“But it’s grandma and that’s what you do with your family and you love your family and you want to help them so it’s not so bad. It’s not such a burden,” she said.

She makes it work one day at a time and said she doesn’t regret her decision.

“Our whole lives my mom always begged us to never put her in a home, so I’m glad that I get to care for her,” she said in tears.

Lydia Ruttenbur has a full house! She is a mother of ten, has her twin grand babies living with her, and cares for her 73-year-old mother who has dementia. FILE: Lydia Ruttenbur splits up the responsibility of caring for her mother, Peggy, so she still has time to home school her children. Jakob Ruttenbur gives Peggy her pills and makes her breakfast each morning. Lydia Ruttenbur sits on the couch with her 73-year-old mother, Peggy, and her granddaughter. Hillari and Alissa Ruttenbur like to watch movies and TV shows with their grandmother, Peggy. Lydia Ruttenbur took her mother in about two and a half years ago when she started noticing that something wasn’t right. Lydia Ruttenbur's daughters take Peggy for a walk around the neighborhood to get some fresh air.

KSL 5 TV Live

Your Life Your Health

Comiske riding her stationary bike, something she does every morning....

Emma Benson

Strategies to lengthen your life

The CDC says, on average, women tend to live 5-7 years longer than men because men higher rate of cardiovascular disease, but there are simple, healthy ways to increase your life expectancy.

8 hours ago

Chris and Aimee Tyler, speaking about their experience with Chris's pancreatic cancer diagnosis....

Emma Benson

‘Cancer can affect anybody’: Utah couple processes pancreatic cancer diagnosis

Pancreatic cancer is the third leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. and often goes undetected until it's advanced. One Utah County man is fighting for more time with his loved ones.

7 days ago

Ruth Norton uses the ArthroFit gym to help senior patients prevent, prepare for and recover from su...

Emma Benson

Intermountain program helps seniors fight joint pain, recover from surgery

Ruth Norton has had her fair share of health challenges, including double-knee surgery, open-heart surgery, and breast cancer. 

14 days ago


Emma Benson

‘The place we love isn’t healthy’: Millcreek couple weighs decision of moving due to poor air quality

No one is immune to the dangers of air pollution. What if you had to choose between staying in Utah while risking a premature death, or leaving behind family, your career, and your roots to move somewhere new for the sake of your health? One Millcreek couple is facing that exact scenario. #yourlifeyourhealth

21 days ago

Jayde St. Clair (left) with her newborn child being held by her husband....

Emma Benson

How childbirth education classes can help moms prepare for labor

Intermountain Health is offering prenatal courses for parents that cover everything from pregnancy to labor and delivery to postpartum care.

28 days ago

Steve Adams on dialysis...

Emma Benson

Are you at risk for kidney disease? 

Steve Adams is not afraid of making friends, even at the dialysis center. 

1 month ago

Sponsored Articles

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

Springville Mother Finds Balance Between Raising Kids And Caring For Aging Mother