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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?