Yesterday I spoke of my neighbor who is falling deeper into the throes of dementia. I mentioned that her children have been contacted, but have not gotten involved as her mental health declines. Many bloggers felt that morally the children should be helping out the parent. But one blogger simply stated that they are under no obligation to assist.
Are children responsible for their parents?
Is there legal responsibility to care for a parent? I don’t think there is. I don’t think you are bound to assist.
But is it a moral responsibility to take care of your parents? Aging or otherwise?
My Father in law is the type of man who thinks that children should support their parents as they age. I’m really not a fan of this line of thought, especially as he is the type of man who makes money disappear at the drop of a hat or sign of an OTB (off track betting) Should my husband and his sister be forced to support him financially?
If your parent has a substance abuse problem, do you help them through it? Or do you walk away to save your own sanity?
Now let’s switch to the aging process. If a parent is declining in health, should you take them in, or should you get them a caregiver, or put them in a facility? Or should you just let them figure it out? Who makes the decision as to where someone spends their final years? I often say to my Mother “Watch what you say to me because I’m the one making the decision where you spend your final days.” I say it as a joke when she gets a little too intrusive, but really, how much of it is my call?
I remember a conversation I had with a friend. His wife was pregnant with their second child and he said the main on reason to have kids was to have someone to take care of you when you got older. I sort of blanched at him- I mean- this was the early 2000’s. I don’t think that’s the reason you have kids, but he was clear. Kids take care of their aging parents. If they don’t, who will?
What sort of expectation should a parent have of how much support their children will give?
Now let’s segue just a little. As we age, should there be provisions in our living will as to how we want the remaining years of our lives to play out? Should I just give power of attorney to my daughter if I reach 80? Should there be some sort of clause that if my mental capacities diminish to the extent that I am walking around my apartment building knocking on doors saying my son was kidnapped, I must be put into a facility for those with diminishing faculties? Legally, are there things that we should have in place? We all know about DNR’s, but that’s specifically for end of life. What about when there is life still left?
As we deal with a rather large aging population, what should we do?