TAKING CARE OF OUR ELDERLY PARENTS: AN OBLIGATION OR AN ACT OF AFFECTION?

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On an online debate forum where respondents were asked whether adults should be responsible for their elderly parents’ care, 53% said yes – just 6% higher than those who said no.  This very narrow margin underscores how almost equally divided people are on the issue of taking care of the elderly.  More significant than these figures though are the reasons behind each person’s choice.

 

Among the many arguments of those who voted nay, the most prevalent was that we did not choose our parents and so should not be obliged to care for them.  Another was that we do not owe anything to our parents; instead, we owe it to our children to raise them as well as we have been raised.  Quite a number of these naysayers did not have a good relationship with their parents.
Interestingly, some of those who voted negatively had positive explanations:

 

No, it is not our responsibility to care for our elderly parents.
Caring for them is an act of love.

 

This, perhaps, is the reasoning I agree with the most.  I care for my parents not because I feel obliged but because I love them tremendously. My parents have been so selfless in raising me and my siblings and have sacrificed a lot to be able to provide for all our needs.  From infancy to adulthood, they have showered us with love and affection that we can never truly repay.  Naturally, it is but apt for me to embrace caring for them when they are old.  Perhaps, instead of thinking of it as an obligation I instead see it as an opportunity to show my parents how much I treasure and love them.

 

Now, I ask you this, will you be sending your own parents to a nursing home or would you gladly accept them in your own home?  If you have chosen the latter, are you taking care of them merely because it is your responsibility or because of your unconditional love for them?

Comments

  1. Jenna M Wood says:

    I couldn’t agree more- I often feel the same about a parent’s ‘responsibility’ to care for their children. Legally, yes they are responsible, but it is truly something done out of love.

  2. The reason we relocated back to our home country one of them was to be with my mom. Although living with my mom is everyday challenge..with all the critics and the fussy bit she has, still she is my mom. So I am biting my tongue. As long as she is happy, then it’s okay 🙂

  3. I was raised by my grandparents, and they’re both gone now, but I would not have thought twice about taking them into my home. It wasn’t easy, but they cared for me when I was younger, and I’d have loved to be able to help them in the same way.

  4. we will most likely be caring for our parents in our home!!

  5. Hmmmm…this is a tough one. I deal with health issues, so I don’t think I could care for someone full-time. My grandmother is 88, has Alzheimers, and can literally do NOTHING for herself. She sits in a chair all day, and has to be put into a bed at night, and has to be fed and so on…she is still at home (with nurses and helpers scheduled throughout the day, the children taking turns coming to feed her dinner and give meds, etc.). No one can care for her (because all her children/grandchildren work) full-time. It’s quite sad. I don’t know what would/will happen if my mother (my father died several years ago) needs full-time care down the road. We’d be in quite a pickle, I’d say.

    To answer your question, I do feel it’s an obligation, but not one I resent. I feel we’re obligated to help the people we love and care about. That sense of obligation should come from a good place, though.

  6. It’s hard to say if we will be having parents here. I am not close to both my mother and father, but my boyfriends father has diabetics and does not take good care of himself. We were debating on putting him in an assisted living home, but now we are not sure what we are going to do. So we are weighing our options at the moment.

    • I am a lucky one. I was truly chosen by my parents. I am adopted by a very loving couple. They gave me everything including saving my life as a baby, i was a premie baby that with out the love and care they gave me i would not be here. I’m now 26 and my mother is 72. I care for her both out of love and the want to give back to her. No it’s not always easy. We walk on each others nerves. But I deeply love her.

  7. Gretchen Gerth says:

    I can’t imagine not taking care of my parents, but I understand that sometimes it is just not a viable option. My mom died 5 years ago from an infection after surgery. Between 2 of my sisters and myself she was never alone in the hospital.

  8. I have already made it clear to my parents that when they need care in their later years, I would want them to feel comfortable living with me. It sort of shocked my mother to hear me say that. I suppose she is not used to that sort of behavior from grown children these days. I would do it out of unconditional love and as a way to thank them for the years of raising and caring for me. I do feel like we are in a way obliged, only in that it is what we would want our children to do for us, so we should do the same for our parents.

  9. I feel that they took care of us when we were young we should take care of them when they need our help.

  10. I would love to take care of my mom when she needs it. I’m not sure that she would be willing to accept my help though. She’s very independent and I think she would prefer to live in assisted living, even if I wanted her in my home.

  11. Meghan Page says:

    I think this totally depends on the amount of care they need and the amount you yourself are able to give. I’m in a situation where I would gladly welcome them into my home, but my sister would be unable. We both love our parents but I know it would be my responsibility to care for them, which I would do out of love.

  12. I can relate. Not for me but for my other half. I told him a long time ago that his parents are welcome to stay with us. That was maybe 5 or 6 years ago. MIL was diagnosed with the last stage dementia. FIL cannot handle being alone with her because she goes nuts and neighbors end up calling the police. Two days of the same scene, they moved in with us. DH is at ease knowing that I am home looking after them. Plus, MIL never had an episode that a police would come and explain to her who we are. Yes, there are arguments between MIL and everyone, but that is a part of being a family, and not to mention dementia….

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