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...to think that children should look after elderly parents?

(1000 Posts)
wheresmymojo Mon 19-Aug-19 12:06:49

It's not a TAAT but inspired by another thread.

It seems to be a general trend that people feel like they shouldn't have any duty/obligation to care for their elderly parents anymore.

Partly I recognise that this is because societal trends make it harder to do elder care than it used to be - it's quite common to have two full time workers, be living quite far from your parents, still have DC to care for at the same time due to later births, etc.

I find it odd though that anyone wouldn't want to care for their elderly parents and find a way to make it happen.

So for example, we have just moved to live near to DH's parents who are in their 70s as while they don't need any help now, we know they will at some point in the next 10yrs.

My DM is very young (56!) so definitely doesn't need any help. I live 200 miles away but have already had the discussion that when she is elderly I'd like her to come and live with us.

I feel like I'm in the minority though these days?

I realise there are of course exceptions - any parental abuse and there will always be people who have very complex situations that mean it isn't possible (e.g. can't afford to move, already have children of their own with special needs, etc).

But I think it's sad that the average person either (a) thinks of it as an obligation/burden that they don't want to do or (b) thinks they don't have any obligation at all.

SirJamesTalbotAndHisSpeculum Mon 19-Aug-19 12:10:41

I don't think that the average person does think that they don't want to or should look after elderly parents.

Barring abuse I think most people would want to look after their parents. You only have to read all the threads on here about parents who need carers and how difficult it is to get the right one to see that.

My own parents died young (my mother was 73) and while she was dying my sisters and I all looked after her at home. I could not have imagined doing anything else.

SirJamesTalbotAndHisSpeculum Mon 19-Aug-19 12:12:18

YANBU to think that children should look after their parents IMO.

And I think that most children do want to.

ChocolateCakeAndRainbows Mon 19-Aug-19 12:12:43

I agree with you and its a complete break down in the wider family unit. In general too not just looking after elderly relatives. It's very sad to see

IceCreamAndCandyfloss Mon 19-Aug-19 12:13:50

I think they should too. After all they gave years raising us.

Not everyone does though. Many on MN often quote if they haven’t done free childcare for grandchildren they don’t warrant care in their later years.

99problemsandjust1appt Mon 19-Aug-19 12:15:31

YABU

Not all people have nice gentle elderly parents that were caring to them as children and who eat tea cakes drink earl grey and are lovably forgetful ....

Nobody should have to look after parents who were abusive or unpleasant or even those who were good parents can became severely ill or suffer with dementia and become violent aggressive and unbearable

In short there should be no expectation

99problemsandjust1appt Mon 19-Aug-19 12:16:50

Also it can start off fine and then deteriorate people then feel obliged and it can destroy the carer

HulksPurplePanties Mon 19-Aug-19 12:17:32

Depends I suppose. Are we talking fully functional elderly parents coming to live with their DC's (i.e. would like company and support, but not full time care) or are we talking about DC's taking care of parents with severe needs like Alzheimer's, Dementia, etc that will require round the clock care?

In my experience most people my age are expecting and planning for the former but in no position to do the latter because they have no way of supplying full time care themselves, especially to the standards expected today.

Ihatesundays Mon 19-Aug-19 12:17:36

I think distance has changed things enormously. People don’t live on the same estate as their parents anymore. My MIL wouldn’t move and we couldn’t move to her - so what do you do?

People also live longer so it’s become more of an issue that people wouldn’t have had to deal with in the past. I see people living in their own homes with quite complex needs. It’s not like they just need a bit of shopping dropping in.

Honestly the idea of my MIL actually coming to live with us fills me with horror. People might be happy for their own parent to come live with them, their PIL though...

GCAcademic Mon 19-Aug-19 12:17:57

Good luck, OP. I hope none of your parents or in-laws end up with dementia, never mind both of them at the same time as we had to deal with.

ArthurtheCatsHumanSlave Mon 19-Aug-19 12:20:18

The main problem is though, that today's "older" generation, are older, and have more complex needs than previous generations.

I know of no-one who has been able to look after their elderly parents. They are, generally, all active and self-supporting up to their mid 80's and then suddenly go downhill.

Myself, and all my friends have had, or currently have, huge issues with their very elderly parents. All these parents are in their 90's.

Until you have had to deal with a parent in their 90's I don't think you can judge anyone's else's choices.

edwinbear Mon 19-Aug-19 12:21:02

YABU. My mother is a selfish, spiteful, cold and calculating, narcissistic piece of scum. I'm very much looking forward to watching her struggle, alone, in her old age having alienated everyone close to her.

Cherrysoup Mon 19-Aug-19 12:21:09

We couldn't have taken care of my mil, she's in a specialist dementia home. She needs round the clock watching and can't be unsupervised. We both work full time 2 hours away.

If my mother needs care, I'm 5 hours away. She has enough money to have carers in, but again, if she goes down the route of dementia, I would prefer her to be safe in a supervised home.

Sooverthemill Mon 19-Aug-19 12:21:15

It depends. My elderly cantankerous (and extremely frail and often ill) father refused to consider moving into sheltered accommodation near to us when we lived 3 hours away from childhood home. We also had DHs elderly frail and often ill mother 3 hours in the other direction. Work meant we lived where we needed to. So my dad died alone in the middle of the night after a fall. Just like his mother who also refused to move. I've told my kids to put me in a home.

Justmuddlingalong Mon 19-Aug-19 12:21:22

But I think it's sad that the average person either (a) thinks of it as an obligation/burden that they don't want to do or (b) thinks they don't have any obligation at all.
My mother obviously thought this as she dumped my younger sibling and I at the children's home.
Thanks for your thoughts. But I'll choose to ignore them.

frazzledasarock Mon 19-Aug-19 12:22:52

I grew up in a household where my parents took care of my paternal grandmother. We were primary school and early secondary school aged.

My grandmother was incontinent and violent and would have screaming fits sometimes screaming and shouting throughout the night. She was also freakishly strong.

My dad worked full time and us kids and my mum took care of my dads mother.

Come back and tell us how much you feel you should be looking after your parents when they reach that stage in life. It’s way preaching when you haven’t got a clue.

99problemsandjust1appt Mon 19-Aug-19 12:23:02

I won’t be doing it there’s no way on earth I’m leaving it to my siblings

A few years ago I had to care for my mother after a serious illness thank god it wasn’t permanent as I was basically left to it by them and she was the most difficult person ever to look after and I had a baby too he was left screaming a lot of the time while I dealt with all sorts of things so if anything happens again they can deal with it all

Sleepyblueocean Mon 19-Aug-19 12:23:19

I think you are possibly not aware of how difficult the looking after can get. You also have 2 sets of parents/ inlaws of different ages. I think you may struggle if they were similar ages and likely to be requiring a lot of care at the same time.

Buyitinbamboo Mon 19-Aug-19 12:24:07

We've made the decision not to move to a town 20 minutes away as PIL are approaching 80 and need us more. However the idea of either of them living with us fills me with horror to be honest. I'm happy to help run them to dr appointments and do food shopping but if they had dementia or needed help with the toilet I'm not sure I could do it for ILs. Maybe my own mum.

I appreciate that probably makes me selfish

dollydaydream114 Mon 19-Aug-19 12:24:19

I find it odd though that anyone wouldn't want to care for their elderly parents and find a way to make it happen.

So for example, we have just moved to live near to DH's parents who are in their 70s as while they don't need any help now, we know they will at some point in the next 10yrs.

Well, bully for you. Have a medal. But it’s not that simple for everyone.

I would like to live near my parents but I would be living in a cardboard box on the pavement, because we can’t afford to live where they do and they understandably don’t want to move away from their home and friends.

And how do you suggest it works when there are two sets of parents living in different parts of the country? Should DP and I just magically find the money for two homes and then separate so he can care for his mum and I can care for mine?

If you’d like to find a way for me to ‘make it work’ to care for my parents from 300 miles away with a full time job and no car, please do get working on it, because god only knows I’ve bloody tried and it’s taking a hell of a toll on my mental health.

Don’t you think people feel bad enough without Little Miss Sanctimonious popping up to guilt-trip them even more? You know absolutely nothing of people’s circumstances or family relationships or what their other responsibilities are in life, so maybe turn down your smugness dial down a bit.

RafaelAndJane Mon 19-Aug-19 12:24:55

It seems to be a general trend that people feel like they shouldn't have any duty/obligation to care for their elderly parents anymore.

Where are you seeing this trend? Reading threads on here in the elderly parents topic, plus my own peer group in real life, it's not something I've seen.

have already had the discussion that when she is elderly I'd like her to come and live with us.

I can't think of anyone who wouldn't do the same if their parent was simply a bit frail as comes with old age. What about if you're working full time at this point, OP? What if your mum has a dementia and she's aggressive and violent and is soiling herself? What if she scares the crap out of your children and is dangerous for them to be around?

Frankly, I find your post insensitive and goady. Some people just do not have the facilities or ability to look after an ill, elderly person - people who work, people with children of their own, people who aren't strong enough to help their parents go to the toilet, wash and get dressed. People whose parents need specialist care. Your post is sanctimonious and uncaring.

RosaWaiting Mon 19-Aug-19 12:25:39

I think your OP is bonkers, impractical and inconsiderate

Elder care is a job for reason. There are so many reasons why someone couldn't do it even if they wanted to!

as for parents having raised you - well, they wanted to have children so they made a choice.

Whosorrynow Mon 19-Aug-19 12:26:55

Back in the day people died younger and there were fewer older people relative to younger people so looking after your elderly relatives was feasible
We don't live in the kind of extended family unit that make that an option it's not compatible with modern society.
these days it's likely to be a situation where you are working full-time with young adult children who still need you and then elderly parents who could require another 20 years of care as they become increasingly frail and needy so you have to give up your whole life to look after your parents, it's going to finish you off.
saying they looked after us so we have to look after them just makes no sense, it's not the same thing at all

Settlersofcatan Mon 19-Aug-19 12:26:59

Most people I know live some distance from their parents and the parents don't want to move. That's our situation - I don't think my DH and I are obliged to change career or do a very long commute so our parents aren't going to get day to day support.

TheCountessofFitzdotterel Mon 19-Aug-19 12:27:00

Sorry op but this reads to me rather like one of those threads by people who haven't had children yet talking about how they don't understand why all parents aren't as perfect as they are going to be.
It's very easy to tell your nice mum in her fifties she is welcome to come and live with you when there is no immediate prospect of that happening. It's very different when you are in your fifties yourself, battling with dealing with teenage children and your mother has become harder and harder to deal with as she ages and less and less considerate of other members of your family.

In theory I agree with you, but in practice it isn't that simple. Sandwich generation is a balancing act.

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