What do we really owe our aging parents?
A frank discussion...
When we chose to have children most people have a stable relationship and decide the time is right. Then you have months to plan. When you have aging parents, you are less in control. If your aging parent needs your time and possibly treasure to help them navigate aging, here are some cautions:
Never impoverish yourself to help your aging parent. We are lucky in the United States that social programs provide a safety net for older adults with Medicare and Medicaid, Social Security and Section 8 housing, among others. Your parents may not live a life of luxury if they lack money but they will be cared for.
“Attending to aging parents is a balance. Make sure their needs are met but don't neglect your own.”
Do not jeopardize your own livelihood to help your parent. Do not give up significant income or your job to help your older parent if you cannot afford to do so. You may end up jeopardizing your own future. If your parents' finances or yours allow, hire someone to care for them.
If you do decide to spend significant time caring for your parent, make sure to take some time attending to your own needs. If you become burned out or resentful, no one benefits. You do not want your parents to leave this world with your relationship in tatters. There are no do-overs.
Attending to aging parents is a balance. Make sure their needs are met but don't neglect your own.