Aging Parents?

Determining Who Takes Responsibility for Aging Parents

Your roles have permanently reversed; now, it’s your parents who are in need of care, and it’s you the children who have to provide all the caring. During the first few months of adjustment, it is natural for things to be awkward between you and your parents.

The Proper Time and Place to Discuss Who Takes Responsibility

If you’re not an only child, you and your siblings, must set up a meeting, but away from your parents’ sight and hearing. This is necessary because you’ll be discussing several sensitive issues concerning your parents, and these topics may unduly cause pain to your parents if they hear about it.

So…Who Takes Responsibility?

Everyone must take responsibility for caring for one’s aging parents. Your parents have no doubt dedicated their time, effort, and lives to ensure that all of you have brighter futures to look forward to. They have given you unconditional love and support. It is every child’s responsibility to return the gifts they have received from their parents by giving them back the love and care they’ve been showered with over the years.

Responsibilities Must Be Shared

Even though one of your siblings may be willing to shoulder all responsibilities of taking care of your aging parents, this responsibility is better shared by everyone. Talk and see who among you is better suited to handle which responsibility. Siblings with thriving careers would be more suited to taking care of the financial aspect of caring for aging parents. Those who have lots of free time on their hands can take care of seeing to their parents’ every day needs that they may no longer have the will or energy to take care of.

Talk to Your Parents

Once you and your siblings have agreed about who does what and when, it’s time to talk to your parents. You must, however, let your parents voice their wishes first to see if their desires coincide with the plans you’re about to set in motion. If they don’t, find a compromise. Remember to be very tactful when discussing this particular topic with your parents; one wrong word and your parents might think you’re looking for a way to get rid of them!

Personal Care or Hired Services?

Seeing to your obligations to your parents doesn’t necessarily mean that all of you might have to disorganize your lives to personally tend to your parents’ care. If you don’t think your parents would be hurt with such a decision, you could consider hiring a caregiver or relocate your parents to a nursing home. Keep in mind, however, that some parents feel they’re being abandoned and neglected when their children choose to send them to nursing homes.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Hiring a Caregiver

Pros — You can employ a live-in caregiver for your parents and ensure that all their needs are fully met at whatever time of the day. A caregiver is also equipped to handle a lot of medical and nursing tasks that you may not be presently capable of.

Cons — Having a caregiver can be costly, depending on the wages being asked. Entrusting the lives of your parents to a total stranger is also a big decision to make, especially when it turns out that the caregiver you’ve hired is irresponsible or negligent.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Sending Your Parents to a Nursing Home

Pros — You’ll feel doubly safe with your parents installed in a nursing home because a whole crew of medical professionals is present 24/7, ready to serve all the needs of their patients. Living in a nursing home isn’t always sad; it might even be fun once your parents find companions their age to hang out with.

Cons — Besides the expected costs, sending your parents to a nursing home may be perceived as an act of abandonment and betrayal in their eyes.

It’s What They Want that Counts the Most

Always remember that. No matter how strong, healthy, or rich your parents are make it your personal obligation to ensure that they’ll retire in utmost comfort and contentment.


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Dale Susan Edmonds
28. July 2009
Dale Susan Edmonds
28. July 2009
You're so right. At some point the children of aging parents have to step in and take a more active role in their parents lives. What is critical however, is that this is a PARTNERSHIP with our parents. If at all possible, we need to start the conversations early... well before there is a crisis. But whenever we start, we don't want to limit our choices to "either-or" thinking. A caregiver or the nursing home are not our only options. If we take our time and get everyone on board -- we can explore our parents believes and values and what's important to make their every day life have meaning. Then we can be creative and figure out a solution to accomplish that -- without overwhelming our own lives and finances. For a way to start, check out All the best to everyone with aging parents. Dale Susan


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