An obligation to care for elderly parents

An obligation to care for elderly parents


Wednesday, April 24, 2019

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IT'S a legal, as well as a cultural expectation that children, especially female children, should take charge of their elderly parents' affairs when they become unable to. It can be a burden for some, who have to put their own lives on hold, sometimes for years, when their parents approach the end of their lives.

All Woman asked readers to share how they made the decision to care for their parents, and how overwhelming it can be on the family.

Andrean, 36, executive chef:

I don't think I am obligated to do what I do for my mom. It's natural. When you love someone you don't have to choose, you just have to do what you have to. Dealing with my mom, who suffers for Alzheimer's disease which causes memory loss, can be quite challenging especially since my work hours can be hectic. It's a lot to deal with day by day knowing it only gets worse, but I want to make sure that I do my best to ensure I give her the best quality of life possible, especially because of the kind of mother that she was to me.

Louise, 29, soldier:

I do feel obligated to take care of my mother because she took care of me in every possible way. It can be overwhelming depending on the senior's state of mind or physical capabilities, but thankfully my mother is still well enough physically. She has a health complication that is expensive to treat, however, so I have to do my best to be on top of that.

Patrice, 29, make-up artist:

I believe parents are obligated to their children and not the other way around, but taking care of my parents is something that I have always known that I had to do.

Sheryl, 37, production manager:

I feel obligated to take care of my mom because my dad was never there for me. I think it is my duty to take care of my mom and I tell myself all the time that she is the only elderly person I will take care of because of all the sacrifices that she has made for me. It can be quite overwhelming to care for her because she is not mobile. My sister takes care of her the majority of the time but I make sure to play my part. I have to be up by 2:30 in the mornings to prep her meals for the day, to prepare for work, and to bathe her before I leave for work. Then there is the medication aspect — I have to administer the insulin, keep her medication in check, and when I get in I have to spend time with her, bathe and get her ready for bed, and I also have to sleep lightly just in case of a medical emergency. So the truth is I love having my mom with me, but it can be physically draining.

Amles, 27, police officer:

I don't feel obligated; however, I have a responsibility to take care of my parents. This decision was an easy one to make because they took care of me and so at a time when they need me most I want to be there for them. I won't deny though that financially it can sometimes be difficult. But most times they just need you to visit them, cook and wash for them, and make sure that they are well kept.

Jennifer, 41, event planner:

I am the only girl and the fifth of seven children. I, by default, had both my parents to take care of. My mom died so I only have my father remaining and my brother made it clear that this kind of work is for girl children even though he does not work. What I do for my dad and did for my mom is from a place of love. Most of the financial burden, and not just the physical, rests on me even though I have a family and even more children than each of my siblings' family units. It's stressing sometimes, especially with the hospital, but I manage thanks to the help of my older daughter who helps me out when I need her to.

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