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How To Take Care Of Your Parents
Advice On Taking Care of Your Elderly Parents
When we were still in our nappies or diapers, we used to disturb our parents with our tantrums. We used to badger them for sweets and candy. When we learned the meaning of money, we pestered them for our allowances. So if the time comes when our parents cannot properly support themselves, financially or physically, what are we going to do? They were around for us when we used to annoy them repeatedly for something. Are we now going to be around for them?
Many parents are effectively abandoned by their children. They are abandoned to nursing homes and to institutions for the elderly. All too often, the young ones only visit during the holidays. In some parts of the world, the elderly, abandoned by their children, end up destitute. They become homeless beggars. The elderly are turning out to be the most neglected demographic in our society.
Yet many parents around the world are not abandoned or neglected. Their children still love them and care for them. Many experience the joy of looking after their grandchildren. They become an inspiration to their grandkids. NBA Hall-of-Fame legend Larry Bird and US President Barack Obama were raised by their grandparents when their own parents died.
Taking care of your parents should not be seen as a grim fate, but instead as a new experience, a new chance to learn. Many career-oriented people are unfortunate just because they do not have the time to spend with their elderly parents. They feel miserable for not being around when they are needed.
Those who are about to take care of their own parents have made a brave decision. Allowing our parents to live in our own homes is a wiser choice than leaving them alone at nursing homes. Nursing homes dont always actively promote health and well-being. It is better for us to take care of our own parents than to have nurses or care-givers take care of them.
Not only will taking care of our parents be a new learning experience, but also a moment to strengthen the old bonds, to improve family ties, and to bring family members closer to each other and to the new generation. Taking care of our elderly parents can be a beautiful and emotional experience.
It is important that those who choose to take care of their parents learn how to distinguish needs from wants. Taking care of our parents means first of all taking care of needs. But sometimes we mistake needs for wants. Elderly parents do not only need clothing, food, and a warm place to sleep. They also need love, emotional and moral support, and time with their families.
Parents may want all kinds of things, from vacations and cars, to movie nights and trips to the restaurant. But as long as you understand that love and support are part of what they actually need, then it is okay to focus on meeting their needs.
But if you have to say no when your parents want something, then say it gently. You cannot please your parents all the time. If they want something done and you cant do it, say no, but in a gentle manner. Understand how frustrating it must be for them to have to ask you to do things for them.
Those who take care of their elderly parents have many things to be worried about, and need to face their fears courageously. Our parents were once our rock of support. They protected us and helped us through hard times. But now we are the protectors and comforters.
The hardest part of taking care of elderly parents is living with the fear of death and then watching your parents die. Everyone fears death because of its finality. Before that moment arrives, it is a good idea to rekindle old but happy memories you and your parents shared together. Keeping memories a live will help your parents realize that part of them lives on after they are gone.
By the same token, dont recall old grudges. Do not use your new position of authority with respect to your parents to exact revenge from some previous wrong. Be open to hearing their apologies, but do not demand apologies.
As your parents get older they become more dependent on you. But that doesnt mean you should treat them like children. Respect the fact that they are mature beings with their their own thoughts and feelings.
Let your parents share the housework if they can. Some of our aging parents continue to love working or just the feeling of being useful. Let them decide if they are up to it. For many elderly it is to work than to stay idle.
You can also help your parents get involved in social activities. Activities with moral, spiritual, social, or emotional aspects will help bond your family. Going to church, setting up a booth at a fair, participating in a charity walk, helping out at a local school or homeless shelter, and so on, are all activities that can help to bring people together.
Dont grumble if you think you are spending too much money or time taking care of your parents. Remember the sacrifices they made for you and remember that they are unique human beings who deserve your support.
If you are worried about money, try to keep it to yourself. The last thing you want to do is to create the impression that your parents are a financial burden. It is not uncommon for elderly people to commit suicide because they believe they are a burden on their families.
If you treat your parents with dignity and respect they will have the motivation to go on living and enjoying life. But there are always moments when we may feel sorry for our parents or when they might pity themselves. Try not to indulge or let your parents indulge in these kinds of debilitating emotions. Try to inspire in your parents the will to live and to enjoy life.
Taking on the responsibility of caring for your elderly parents can be a big challenge, but it represents a great second chance to show your parents how much you love them and appreciate the sacrifices that they made for you.
Submitted by: Catsteven
1. Their elderly parents should preplan their own care, as part of being a responsible adult. 2. While everyone should and can be responsible for themselves, not every parent was responsible towards their children. There are plenty of physically and emotionally abused and neglected children. Why should a child that was not financially and emotionally provided for growing up, have to be responsible for the parent when they're an adult? And isn't it more likely that those same irresponsible parents becomes the elders that gets into the most financial problems in old age?
I grew up too fast because of this
My grandmother is my legal guardian and of course she is in old age. I'm only 17 years old and I've literally given up my childhood for my own health issues plus a little bit of hers. I am not giving up most of my adolescence for her because neither my grandfather nor my sister want to step up and help me. It's just my grandmother and I living at home and she is making my life completely miserable. I can't even leave the house without someone calling me telling me something stupid that she did. Today was the second day in a row that she has fallen.
This isn't the 1920's
Adults have full schedules, and more often than not have kids of their own. I think it's extremely selfish for parents of an adult to expect any kind of care from them. As someone stated below, the idea of looking after your parents is very dated. It pains me to read some of these life stories. People wasting decades of their lives in an attempt to avoid some sort of guilt. Other times it seems they're financially forced to look after parents, which is also unfair and shows that the parents just assumed they could take away years of their child's life.
Parents make the choice.
Children should not be obligated to take care of their parents simply because they are your parents. Parents have to take care of their children until adulthood because parents make the choice to have children (either naturally or via adoption) and have to take responsibility for their choices. Children do not make a conscious choice to have parents therefore have no responsibility to take.
However, if the parent helps the child as an adult (eg. lets their adult child live at home and pays their bills while the child "finds himself") then the adult child makes the choice to accept help from the parents and should pay it back when the time comes.
They didn't help me!
My mother is deceased and my father cheated me out of money my mother had left specifically for myself and my brothers. He will not even bother to visit his grandkids even though he only lives 10 minutes away. He doesn't even bother to call them on birthdays, Easter or Christmas etc. Aside from that he refuses to help in any way and in all honesty this isn't new. As a kid growing up he was extremely abusive, violent and always drinking. He never bothered to have any involvement in my life. I was a national champion in my sport, yet he has never seen me perform.
He has made provision in his will for my brother's daughter yet made no provision for my children. He has given large sums of money to both my brothers enabling them to buy houses and has left me out. I know that when the time comes he will expect to live with me and my family but this will simply not be possible since my husband and I have to work twice as hard to try and get a house and security for our children and their futures. My husband's family is the same. They help his brother, sister and step-brothers but fail to be there on the rare occasions we may need some family support. The reality is if any of our so-called parents had offered even the most basic of support that would have helped us to build a solid foundation, then maybe then, we would actually have the means to help them when they are elderly. You reap what you sow!
No we should not be made to look after our parents,that's what their super /pension is for. Some parents can be down right abusive. However, if we choose to help them that would not be because of obligation that would be because we have a good relationship with them.
Worn out with Mother's care needs
My father died 5 years ago leaving me with a super physically fit 83 year old with dementia. I find I am worn out with juggling a demanding job and a family and really wanted my own time as I approach 50 not a huge and frustrating responsibility. It is a myriad of appointments to achieve anything and all by me. No other relatives to call upon. I feel I need to preserve myself and desperately want to end my caring role. I am being selfish here but after bringing up a child and caring for a sick mother in law and a sick father, my mother's needs are coming when I'm worn out mentally. My mother can express strong views and I find I go along for an easy life. All free time seems to be needed for chiropodists, dentist, hairdresser, doctor etc etc I shower her and wash her hair/trim her nails, do her shopping, change her bed, do her washing, answer her mail and the list goes on but I know this is nothing to some people and it will only get worse. I just want someone to assess her rationally and make arrangements for the appropriate care. I don't care about money and I'm starting to feel numb as I hardly recognise this lady any more. Yes I'm selfish and just hope I get a break soon.
PLAN. They should be responsible to plan at least something for their retirement and care.
A parent's poor planning impacts the life of others, now their poor planning is affecting my life and my future, as well as my kids. What a horrible snowball effect. I cared for my mother, and now my dad. My dad had surgery and came to our home for support after a heart attack. He has a 3000 sq foot home 12 miles away. Refuses to live there, refuses to sell it and refuses to take care of it. I now have him, the pool and yard, as well as a houseful of everything to take care of.
No I am not the only sibling, however it is obvious the dumb one.
No, because it is our responsibility to take care of them.
Our parents took care of us when we were little and then we will just abandon them when they got old? Don't you have heart? Yeah it is their responsibility to take care of us but we have the responsibility to take care of them too. They don't desrve that guys.
Adult caring for elderly parent
You feel obligated to care for a parent just as they cared for you as a child. I left home when I was 18 and became independent. I am now 52, have raised 4 children (my youngest is 17 and still at home). I have been a parent for 33 years. Although my youngest is still at home, my father lives with us now. He is not physically unable to live alone, just emotionally; as he says he cannot live alone since our Mother passed away. However when he was my age, his youngest had left home, and he was free to enjoy his 50s, 60s, 70s and early 80s without responsibility. I have left my professional job to help care for my father, whom I love. However, he talks about the same things every day and has a very limited range of conversation. This is not good for my own brain and I am now beginning to feel old before my time. I feel my father has taken over my life and he spends more time with me than my husband and children. He has his own ideas on how things are done and has his principals. There are constant debates over the way we do things and what we believe in, however this is our home and our lives he has entered into. He pays minimal board as we don't feel right about charging too much. If my father didn't live with me, I would be visiting him a couple of times a week and bringing him to our place for dinner on Sunday nights and everyone would be calm,happy and relaxed. On the other hand, my teenage daughter does not leave her room, my husband has to listen to me constantly complaining about the daily events and I am quickly loosing respect for the father I love. This is the most difficult time in my life and I feel powerless in my own home.