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So after we are done raising our children...

(45 Posts)
OlennasWimple Thu 02-Feb-17 20:41:38

....or perhaps while we are still doing it, we now need to be responsible for caring for our elderly parents as well?

I know this isn't a new thing, I know we have an aging population, I know in an ideal world the elderly would be looked after in their own homes for as long as possible, I know that there are no easy answers.... But I wish someone could come up with one that didn't essentially involve women being shouldered with another domestic responsibility sad

StealthPolarBear Thu 02-Feb-17 20:45:08

While I don't disagree with the fact the solution is likely to involve family cate what he misses is that people on the while choose to have children, they do not choose to have parents.

ChocChocPorridge Thu 02-Feb-17 21:17:09

I've seen this a fair bit over the last week, and yes, that's exactly the inference I drew from it.

I've seen my MIL worn down looking after her and her husbands mothers, and be so dead set that none of her DIL (she's realistic about her sons) would be left with that responsibility.

I'm looking at my special needs brother, and my still relatively young parents and thinking what I would do, and luckily, I'm in the situation where I could throw money at the problem (assuming I continue to be successful) - most women aren't as fortunate

AskBasil Thu 02-Feb-17 22:21:58

Whenever men say families should look after their old people, what they mean is, women should look after old people.

They have no fucking intention of doing it themselves.

They can fuck off.

QueenLaBeefah Thu 02-Feb-17 22:29:14

This is a huge feminist issue because as pointed out when politicians spout about "families" looking after elderly parents the reality is it is always the women (generally the eldest daughter).

buckeejit Thu 02-Feb-17 22:36:32

I think yabu, the article didn't specify women anywhere (unless I missed it )& I think looking after your parents is a natural thing to do for hopefully most people. Obviously it's harder if you live far away but if you've generally had a good relationship with your parents, why wouldn't you? This isn't a new concept, surely people have been looking after older parents forever.

Is the problem that we'll have to do it for longer as they're not dying as quickly? I have 3 brothers & they've all cared for our parents. I've not so much as lived on another country for 15 years & then moved home so they could look after my dc. I think I kind of owe them if I was to keep tally.

AskBasil Thu 02-Feb-17 22:47:12

Buckeejit, the article doesn't need to specify women.

It is NOT natural for most people to look after their parents, most men do not do it, they leave it to their sisters or where they don't have sisters, they dump it on their wives.

David Mowatt has no intention of looking after his parents, he'll get his sisters or wife to do it. I bet he didn't look after his own children either, I bet their mother did.

When men raise their own kids and wipe their own parents' arses, then they can lecture women about doing so. Until then, they should fuck off.-

Kidnapped Thu 02-Feb-17 22:48:10

There's this thread running which covers similar territory.

And yep, a lot of people picked up on the carers = women thing.

David Mowat doesn't say that he has cared for his own parents because he hasn't.

averylongtimeago Thu 02-Feb-17 22:48:55

The thing is, women always did care for the elderly. But now things have changed, we all work out of the home for a start. Most people move away from their home area. My MiL cared for her DF, calling in every day with his meals, but she lived just round the corner. My grandma was looked after by her family - two lived on the same road and the others 5 minutes away.
Not only that, but we have to work for much longer. I should have been retiring in the next couple of years, but now have to work until I am 66.

AskBasil Thu 02-Feb-17 22:49:05

Your brothers are unusual.

I bet if you'd lived here though, you would have come under subtle pressure to do the caring of your parents.

Unless your brothers are paragons of virtue of course.

And I'd love to know how much your SIL's did.

YetAnotherSpartacus Fri 03-Feb-17 00:29:45

Another issue here is that this area is woefully understood and provided for in social and workplace policy. If care for parents becomes widespread (and many women and some men have been doing it for decades) then carers will need proper provisions, including (proper amounts of) paid time to provide care, proper respite facilities, etc.

Where I have a massive problem is where it seems to be being suggested that care should be entirely a private matter and one that the state can wash its hands of. It can't any more than care of children can.

OlennasWimple Fri 03-Feb-17 00:40:59

Yy, AskBasil re DiLs. When my grandparents were ailing my uncle was sure that they didn't need to get in any outside help...until my DM asked him how much he was doing to look after them, and how much was falling onto my aunt and was this really fair and sustainable...

We definitely need something to shift in relation to how we - as a society - look after our aging population, as the current system is definitely broke (as the bed-blocking thread describes). As YetAnother says, there are swathes of workplace and public policies that need to reflect the situation that people caring for their aging parents find themselves in. Wouldn't it be marvellous if we took the opportunity to create a new paradigm of care, where it wasn't assumed that women would bear the brunt? <hopeful>

YetAnotherSpartacus Fri 03-Feb-17 01:18:11

Wouldn't it be marvellous if we took the opportunity to create a new paradigm of care, where it wasn't assumed that women would bear the brunt? <hopeful>

I agree and I also think that this is about changing men's ideas of their roles as well, just as we need to shift most men's thinking about their roles in domestic labour more generally, and also about the equal importance of their work and their female partner's work, whether or not there are children involved. In other words, there are two issues. One is about convincing the state and workplaces to do more and the other is about changing sex roles and gender stereotyping, I think.

MrsTerryPratchett Fri 03-Feb-17 03:06:58

Let's not forget that women already suffer shitter wages and promotions based on the expectation that they will take time off/focus on children. Now elderly people as well. Might as well not pay them at all.

I'm in a different country to my parents. No idea what will happen but I know my DBro won't be doing their care.

DeviTheGaelet Fri 03-Feb-17 07:44:24

I think this basically stems from the fact that the invisibility of women's work has never been factored into planning, and the cost is underestimated.
This situation is an entirely predictable consequence of people living longer and a two wage society. But no one in government thought about it when they could have started a long term saving scheme, because caring work is invisible.
Now the government don't want figure out how to get society to pay. Well the genie is out of the bottle on women expecting to be treated like men, going to work and not having to shoulder all the caring, so suggesting "people" take responsibility isn't really a valid response.
The government need to pay properly for care.
And I think we do need to do something as a society to view care as a valuable and worthwhile option. Guilt tripping women into doing it alongside everything else isn't the answer.

Miffer Fri 03-Feb-17 08:02:17


My husband did the majority of caring for my Grandma prior to her going into 24 hour care. This was because of various practical issues.

However I work in adult social care I see dozens of older people with care needs a month and the vast, overwhelming majority have women as their main carer. I often joked with my husband and Grandma that he was the only main carer that was any kind of male in law that I had ever heard of. It should also be said that my Grandma needed no help with personal care. It was all meal prep, shopping, cleaning, help with bills etc.

makeourfuture Fri 03-Feb-17 08:42:16

I think this approach is limiting. We are not entirely little separate units, but are part of an interwoven society.

Society functions better, and arguably more fairly, if we all contribute to the common goal of caring for those who are sick or aged - regardless of whether they are family or not.

averylongtimeago Fri 03-Feb-17 09:06:20

Miffer that's what I mean- women always did these things, but now our lives are different, it is much harder. The people who are saying we should care for our own elderly are not taking this into account, there is still an assumption that middle aged women are available to help out when in fact, fewer and fewer are.
Incidentally, when MiL was ill (Parkinson's), both her son's helped care for her, it was a family effort. All for of us work, sons and dils, and live at least 2.5 hours away. Every weekend was spent visiting, shopping, cleaning and feeding, plus lots of organizing of carers and the like until she passed away. She had carers 4 times a day for personal care as well as giving her meals. And yes, all the carers were female.
If she needed help with the toilet or her pad and the carer wasn't there, there is absolutely no way she would have been happy with one of her adult sons helping her. A male carer would be dismissed out of hand.
So what would you suggest? This situation is only going to get worse as we have to work longer and families spread out more. We fully intend to sell up and buy our own care when the time comes, but what will all those who rent do?

FloweringDeranger Fri 03-Feb-17 10:10:22

makeourfuture, there's no 'arguably' about it. This is about shifting responsibilities off the state on to individuals, and in a society that has always been unequal that increases the inequality. And it is always women that pick up the burden of caring work. It is unfair across both sex and class/ income boundaries, not to mention on those who don't have children and have worked all their lives. It also makes much better use of the entirety of society's resources to collectively contribute to the care of those who need it. The financial system has never represented the entirety of resources, but the latter will follow the former into collapse if they keep reducing finances like this.

birdybirdywoofwoof Fri 03-Feb-17 10:12:43

Dsis and I (not Dbro, naturally) looked after DF as he became ill last summer.

We had carers 4 times a day (2 were male (and brilliant) - we couldn't have done the lifting without them).

6/8 of them were EU citizens. Ho hum.

We were very fortunate but we all know the care system is crumbling before our eyes - Brexit is going to make this worse - and women will be expected to fill the gap.

Datun Fri 03-Feb-17 10:55:40

I agree with all the above. Women will expected to pick up the slack, despite them having zero time in which to do so.

Additionally, the cost of care homes is obscene. When, theoretically, it is less expensive for an elderly person to be on a permanent cruise (with a doctor available 24/7 and all food catered for), than in a care home, there is a problem.

I understand that someone with significant medical problems would need more specialist care, of course.

However it's not the carers who are seeing the money. The fund allocation is topsy turvy.

ivykaty44 Fri 03-Feb-17 11:06:17

There is a difference between care homes and nursing homes, Datun do you really mean nursing homes are more expensive than a cruise?

buckeejit Fri 03-Feb-17 11:33:53

In my case the sil haven't done anything but have their own parents. Luckily my parents aren't at the stage of needing too much looking after however I know that the brothers would do it fairly if it came to that. It may be different as I live in Northern Ireland and there is definitely more of a close community feel and older people are valued. I was in England for 18 years and didn't get the same vibe whatsoever. Assumptions are different here.

I also think it is easier to care if you have a less successful job and more time, so perhaps due to this, women are doing more of the caring. That doesn't means its not the man/child of the parent's responsibility.

I was middle management in my old job and suprised that a few of the men more senior to me only saw their parents a couple of times a year. I now work part time for an older people's charity and am often staggered by how I see them treated by their families.

Datun Fri 03-Feb-17 11:40:36


No, nursing homes will need to provide specialist care for those with dementia, etc. And I was being a little flippant, hence saying 'theoretically'. But there are many people in care homes who just need help with day to day managing.

I have had personal experience of both state run care homes, and a private nursing home for my mother, during her last days. The system is definitely broken. Running private homes, whether for care or nursing has become big business. Private care is massively profitable and the quality cannot compare to those provided by the state. At £1000 a week, it's also beyond the means of most people.

SS carers are woefully underpaid and overworked. And the quality of care reflects this.

The Quality Care Commission used my experience for what they called a 'useful case study'. They are involved in the regulation of care, but currently have no control over the funding. They are trying to change that so the funding can be allocated better.

Personally I would like to see less regulation, not more. With the ever present threat of being sued, regulation is strangling the very purpose it was designed to address.

Care homes are being closed due to the prohibitive cost of ever increasing compliance. The compliance regulations are effectively damaging those they were designed to help.

And no, I don't have an answer because most people will be in favour of heavy regulation due to the problems that arise without it.

But the problems that have arisen because of it are tipping the balance.

Xenophile Fri 03-Feb-17 12:18:50

I will not be looking after my mother.

I am sure my brother will leap in and do it though.


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