Hillsboro Couple Will Ride In 2020 Rose Parade To Raise Awareness About Generational Caregiving

'Hope's Heroes' Float Will Honor Family Caregivers

Frame of a Rose Parade float
The SCAN Foundation

Judy Crotsenberg was able to check an item off her bucket list when she watched the 2019 Rose Parade in Pasadena, California in person.

Now, a year later, she may top that as she and her husband Jerry Crotsenberg have been invited to ride on a float in the 2020 parade.

The SCAN Foundation, a California-based non-profit that works to help people live independently as they get older, is sponsoring a float in the iconic New Year’s parade called “Hope’s Heroes.” It pays tribute to generations of family caregivers across the United States.

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The Crotsenberg’s live on their family farm in rural Hillsboro, Wisconsin, one of four generations living near each other. Their closest neighbor is a half mile away.

“My dad has passed and now mom is 91-years-old. Although she’s in fairly good health, mobility is becoming increasingly more an issue. For us in our situation, caregiving is not so much illness as it is the day-to-day help, checking on her, doing yard work and grocery shopping,” Judy Crotsenberg said.

Still, they are 20-miles from the nearest population center. Jerry Crotsenberg said the isolation of living in a rural area can at times make providing care a challenge.

“In an urban area, you can probably call somebody, ‘Can you deliver this meal to somebody, or can we have medications brought in?’ It’s a little bit easier. In the rural setting, we have to be more self-sufficient. We have to be able to gear our time to help somebody do something or to get something done,” he said.

Judy Crotsenberg says rural parts of Wisconsin are aging, which can make caregiving a challenge, but it’s worth it.

“Caregiving is about giving love. You give it and you get it in return. It’s my mom, why wouldn’t I do this? She’s a rock for us,” she said. “If it wasn’t my mom, it could be our neighbor. I know in my own life, when we were busy and working and raising a family, it’s really hard to take the five or 10 minutes to give somebody a phone call before you run to town.”

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“It’s a feeling of being able to do good and being able to do something for another person. When I’m able to help somebody, I’m helping me too,” he said. “I see mom being more comfortable in her home. She has told us so many times, ‘If I didn’t have you guys here, I wouldn’t be able to stay in my own home.’”

Judy Crotsenberg said she hopes the Rose Parade appearance will send a message to others.

“We’re all going to be there. At some point in our lives all of us are going to need caregiving. I think that‘s part of what The SCAN Foundation hopes to accomplish is to get everybody talking about, ‘When I get there, what will happen?’” she said.

While the Crotsenberg’s are in California for the Rose Parade, their daughter and grandsons will be providing care for their mom.