Will You Take Care of Your Parents?

parental careA few years ago, I was having lunch with a friend of mine and we got on the subject of caring for our parents when they got older. Without hesitation, he said his wife and him would be taking in their parents when it was time. In his culture it is assumed the children will eventually care for the elderly parents.

I admired this about my friend. Although he hasn't had to face the reality of it yet – I'm sure he will follow through with the commitment. I also hope to be able to provide and look after my wife's mother – and mine – when it comes time.

Are you planning on taking care of your parents when they are unable to look after themselves? And what I mean by that is – will you take them into your home and attend to their needs? Or, will you send them to a nursing home?

According to AARP, over 22 million people in America already provide care to someone over 50 years of age in their home. And of those folks – 66% of them work full-time. This can present quite a challenging set of circumstances for all involved.

My grandma lived in a nursing home and my mother faithfully visited and ensured she was getting proper care. When I visited her, I was always a little sad to see some of the people there who had little or no visitors. They looked pretty lonely. Wouldn't they be better off (mentally, spiritually -perhaps even physically) if they lived with family?

Now I realize most people are pretty busy (or the parent is in need of medical care). But, I often think that caring for ones elderly parents should be thought of as an honor – not a chore. I mean, consider the sacrifices they have made on your behalf?

Perhaps I'm old school here. And, there are loads of other concerns to consider here too – including health costs and their own physical/mental needs.

Still – I wonder if our default should be to care for our parents – instead of placing them in a home where we often know little about the goings-on and if proper care is taking place.

I'm interested to know what you are going to do. Are you planning on caring for your parents too?

By the way – here's a few resources I came across while doing some research for this post. I hope it's of benefit to you if you are / have been thinking about this:

  • US News and World Report did a step-by-step story on helping you to decide if / when a nursing home might be a good solution for you and your loved one.
  • BenefitsCheckup.org can help you to see what benefits your parents might qualify for if you are going the route of caring for an elderly parent.
  • Eldercare.gov is a government website that will help you find resources in the community for your aging parent.
  • Medicare.gov – another important resource for you and your parents, is now “easy to use”.
  • AARP is a great organization that can help with any questions about this topic.

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  1. They’re in decent health in the sense that we’re not concerned about their health. But my dad retired early due to bad eyes and a bad back, and is unable to work. My mom could probably work part time, but is now babysitting for my brother and sisters (our family has been blessed with five babies in the last five years!), and is watching at least one, sometimes two grandchildren every day. I haven’t crunched the numbers, but I expect this makes more financial sense for our entire family, rather than my mom go back to work part time and my brother and sisters pay for child care.

    After re-reading my initial post, I’m afraid that I seemed very discouraged by the situation. When I told people we decided to move in with them, I said that it was the least we could do after what they’ve done for me, and I still believe that. And, my wife and I are very happy, and we know we are lucky to be where we are: we have a home, jobs, and soon, a baby! We are extremely blessed.

  2. I’m 29 and, in a way, am taking care of my parents (72 and 67).They can not afford living on their own; I do not know the details of their financial situation or how they got there, but my parents are probably several hundred thousands of dollars in debt due to multiple mortgages and credit cards. They asked me and my wife to move in with them to help around the house, drive them places (neither of them drive), and pay rent to help them with their bills. It has not been easy for me and my wife: we have never had a good relationship with my dad and we don’t have much privacy or space. Now that we’re expecting our first child in early July, we want to move into our own place. At the same time, we want to be able to take care of my parents. However, we can’t afford living on our own and give my parents as much money as we’re giving them now. While I do think it’s important to take care of my parents, I believe that my duty as a husband and father come first; I believe that having our own place will be much healthier for my family, spiritually and emotionally. Still, we’re unsure of what we will do.

    • Wow Ruser – that is quite the responsiblity! I respect you for doing the hard thing and taking care of your parents.. not easy, especially when they haven’t been responsible with their money. This is a tough situation – because you do have a duty to your family first (wife, kids) – then parents. Are they in decent health were they might be able to generate some passive-type income? Or, work PT?

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