“By caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God….”
–1 Timothy 5:4
It takes so much work to raise kids and get them on their feet. Not to mention the unholy drain on the parent’s work, time and cash flow. Sometimes being a parent feels so much like opening your wallet in a windstorm.
What’s unimaginably sad is that those same people who provided food, shelter, clothes, volunteered at school, cheered from the bleachers during every dance recital or football game and encouraged during tough career times are being dumped in nursing homes by their adult children.
When you were a kid, you would always promise your parents that one day you’d take them on vacations and buy them fancy and expensive gifts. It’s a disgrace however that children only grow up to be ungrateful and too lazy to take care of their elderly parents.
Is It True?
People often make the mistake of assuming that children put their parents in nursing homes only because they are left with no choice.
Supposedly, when elderly parents reach a point where their significant health problems make them unable to take care of themselves, to get out of bed on their own and require round-the-clock supervision and care, then the decision of putting elderly parents in a nursing home is mandated only by medical professionals. The reason often stems from the family members’ lack of time, sufficient medical resources and know-how to take care of the parents.
Let’s say to some extent I agree with the “medical or health” factor.
However, how about those cases where children had the means to support and assist their aging parents but were apparently too “busy” with their works or personal lives and gave tons of excuses of not taking care of their loved ones?
Traveling back in the 17th century, nursing homes initially originated in England as poorhouses. Such places were provided by the municipality to house orphans, mentally deranged, homeless or disabled people.
Even today – despite the term changed – a nursing home still remains an institution with long-term care facilities reserved for needy people of the society (as described above). It was and is never meant to be a dumping ground for children who do not want to take care of their aging parents.
For those still not believing that nursing homes are being an easy way out for kids to abandon their parents, here are some real-life confessions:
“How can I enjoy my life in peace when I have to take care of my mom 24/7?”
(As if it was a lot of fun for your mom when she was feeding, bathing and toileting you, right?)
“Due to her bad balance, my mom cannot even navigate the stairs at home. Heck, she can’t even get dressed on her own. I always have to help her. Argh!”
(I don’t think your mom complained much when she changed your clothes or taught you how to walk.)
“Is grumpiness a qualification for being admitted to a nursing home? My dad’s getting angry so fast for no reason. If I miss his phone call, he’s like, ‘why didn’t you answer my forking calls?’ I just can’t keep up with his anger anymore.”
(At least your dad didn’t dump you somewhere when you were a brat kid.)
“I don’t want my parents to go to a nursing home, but supporting them would sap finances and I just can’t sacrifice my career.”
(That’s right, go on raking in tons of money and having a lavish lifestyle while your poor parent lies hopelessly alone in some ward, staring blankly at a wall.)
“I think mom’s being too paranoid and only a nursing home might help her. She is talking to herself sometimes. She keeps on forgetting things. What if she forgets me?”
(As if you are worth remembering, duh!)
It’s not pleasing at all to blame children for dumping their elderly parents, but it’s a fact that some are afraid to shoulder the responsibility of taking care of an aging parent.
Plain and simple: Most adult children don’t want to stay awake at night to keep an eye on an elderly parent who’s been sleepwalking or having hallucinations. No one wants to bathe, change the clothes and adult diapers of elderly parents several times a day for years. Everyone wants an easy life, without listening to an old parent who’s lost a good portion of their hearing. It’s easier to just dump that burden on a nursing home, isn’t it?
Taking care of an elderly parent, especially one who is sick, can be very overwhelming, I agree. You won’t be taking care of a fully-grown adult but a sixty-pound child. But, don’t you think it’s your responsibility to be a little bit more appreciative of your parent’s efforts and take care of them?