Does one owe it to their parents to take care of them in old age?

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Sclass
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Re: Does one owe it to their parents to take care of them in old age?

Post by Sclass » Sun Nov 15, 2015 2:05 pm

Thanks Ego. I was afraid I was losing it and taking things OT.

I've had a week of sleepless nights to think about what is really going on. The neighbor threatening me has really brought things to a head.

This whole thing really can mess up ERE. And I think that is what the OP is about. Just because you freed yourself from corporate servitude doesn't mean you're free. The conflict comes from deep down where you know saying "I Resign" to your parent is not the same as it is to some jerk boss. Paying mommy and daddy's bills because they weren't like us just makes things harder.

Owe is a strong word. It's all about control. I'm not sure I like to think of myself as some kind of debtor who has lost control. Here we like to own debt and free ourselves. It's in our nature.

Early retirement in 2012 put me in the crosshairs of my dad. You all are warned. You have money and time for others to try and take.

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Re: Does one owe it to their parents to take care of them in old age?

Post by 1taskaday » Sun Nov 15, 2015 2:36 pm

Funny that this thread has brought this point up,it's the reason a lot of middle-aged women continue to work even though financially they need not.
After a little probing they will often admit it.

They do not want to be the "door-mat"carers for grand kids and elderly parents and parent-in-laws.

Something similar to how the burden of elderly parental care is often placed on the single daughter with no kids.

After all why would she not do it?...no kids...what else is she doing?...

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Sclass
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Re: Does one owe it to their parents to take care of them in old age?

Post by Sclass » Sun Nov 15, 2015 8:39 pm

1taskaday wrote:After all why would she not do it?...no kids...what else is she doing?...
I feel this kind of thing falls disproportionately on females. Maybe I'm wrong. I've met many middle aged women IRL who complain that they are going through the same thing. One actually said "because I'm the girl I guess." That one hated her brother.

That totally sucks. I'm not sure why I got singled out. I showed up. I don't like to admit it to myself but that's prolly it.

OldPro
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Re: Does one owe it to their parents to take care of them in old age?

Post by OldPro » Mon Nov 16, 2015 10:29 am

I do not mean to suggest or imply that elder care is an easy thing to deal with at all. I'm only suggesting that there is always another side to the story.

Sclass, you are acting in what you know is the right and responsible way for YOU to act. How your Father and siblings act is their responsibility and as a firm believer in Karma, I am sure that they will get their just deserts in time. It is always difficult to accept how unfair some things in life seem to be but the fact is that life simply is not fair in many ways. I suggest doing some research and reading on the 'unfairness of life'. Here is a place to start. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/hi ... ons-3-ways

I always remember my own 'eureka moment' in this regard. It came while driving on a busy city commuter highway. A guy lane changed and cut me off and I was cursing him out loud. My Brother happened to be in the car with me and said to me, 'why are you cursing him like that? He can't hear you and wouldn't care if he could. Who is it that is going to get an ulcer over it, him or you?' I realized he was right, I was in fact self-harming by letting it get to me.

We cannot control how others behave but we can control how we behave and doing what is right is always the right thing to do. Leave it to others to self-justify the unjustifiable. Their day will come.

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Re: Does one owe it to their parents to take care of them in old age?

Post by RealPerson » Mon Nov 16, 2015 3:04 pm

OldPro wrote:Few if any parents want to have to rely on their children to support them in their old age. But they should not have to ask themselves, 'will they support me if I need supported.'
Great argument you give here OldPro. Just like there are parents who abandon their children, there are children who abandon their parents in need. Children, especially younger ones, really don't have free choice. The parents decide much for them. For older parents, that is different. If the parents chose to live unwisely and spend eveything they earned, is that really the child's problem to solve? The child has no real choices. The parent does. So the child-parent analogy doesn't hold water 100%.

In the end, it still is about love, not obligation. If I ever need help from my kids, I hope it will come from love, not from a sense of them owing me. And I surely hope that if I need help, it will not be because of my foolish decisions, but due to circumstances beyond my control.

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Re: Does one owe it to their parents to take care of them in old age?

Post by RealPerson » Mon Nov 16, 2015 6:00 pm

RealPerson wrote:
OldPro wrote:Few if any parents want to have to rely on their children to support them in their old age. But they should not have to ask themselves, 'will they support me if I need supported.'
Great argument you give here OldPro.
After reading this again, I thought it might come across sarcastically. It was not meant that way. I think you presented a good argument.

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Re: Does one owe it to their parents to take care of them in old age?

Post by OldPro » Tue Nov 17, 2015 12:59 pm

Understood RealPerson.

In regards to your comment, "If the parents chose to live unwisely and spend everything they earned, is that really the child's problem to solve? The child has no real choices. The parent does. So the child-parent analogy doesn't hold water 100%.", I would agree but only up to a point. The fact is that being an adult and/or a parent does not mean someone will not make unwise or stupid choices in life and end up in need of help to live a basic life. We can say they 'should' have been wiser but if they weren't, then what is, is.

When that happens then yes it is the child's problem to solve if the parent cannot solve it for themselves. Responsibility is not assigned based on 'blame', it is assigned based on who has the ability to deal with the problem. You don't give responsibility to someone to solve a problem when they don't have the ability to solve it do you?

That said, there is a difference between giving help that is needed and enabling continued poor decision making. Just throwing money at a fiscally irresponsible person doesn't help them, it enables them to continue acting badly. Figuring out what is help vs. enabling is not always easy to do either.

Consider this real life example that I am aware of. A widowed mother has less income than her monthly costs. As a result, she is eating up the little capital she was left with when her husband died. She is working at age 60 and when she reaches government pension age, her pension will not cover her existing costs either, so she will have to continue to work until she no longer can. Her income plus capital may last until her pension begins and then her working income plus pension may cover her costs but only for as long as she can continue to work.

Now she has an alternative. Her daughter has offered to have her live with her. She would be able to live on her current working income and live on just her pension when she begins to receive it. She could keep what capital she has left and not have to work once she starts getting her pension. Sounds like an easy decision doesn't it.

BUT, her daughter has a husband and 2 grown children living in her house. The mother would get A bedroom to herself and that's all. She would not have her privacy or her independence. She would not have her own place. Her daughter is willing to take her in but not also take her dog in. The dog would have to go. She loves her dog. The daughter is a bit less fussy about housekeeping than her mother is. The mother would have to live with that too. Put yourself in the mother's shoes. That to her does not sound the least bit desirable, in fact it sounds pretty much like hell to her. So will she move? Not until she is forced to do so. Nor would I want to have to make that decision no matter how logical it might seem. Not every factor in a decision is about logic.

So would it be enabling bad decision making if instead the daughter simply gave the mother enough money every month to meet the difference in her income vs. costs? Or would it be helping the mother to live a decent life as she wants to live it?

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Re: Does one owe it to their parents to take care of them in old age?

Post by Sclass » Tue Nov 17, 2015 3:38 pm

OldPro wrote: Consider this real life example that I am aware of. A widowed mother has less income than her monthly costs.
Hey, thanks for the link to the unfairness article. It made me feel better.

As for this story about the widow, we don't have a whole lot of sympathy around here for folks that live beyond their means. Isn't that what she's doing and wants to continue doing with her daughters help? (Free rent is a major subsidy)

What ever happened to tightening the belts and doing what it takes to survive?

Years ago I got kicked out of a rental by my aunt. She wanted me to take my cousin with me. When he saw the slums I was prepared to live in he said "I cannot live there, it must be in Niceville and Comfortburg." I left his 20 yo spoiled butt behind. His mom begged while he whined "whattabout me where do I go?" I said see you, and moved to the slums and survived. Its called getting by.

I also offered my services to put down my pals dog around the same time. The dog was the difference between living in married student housing or off campus dog friendly rentals which cost a lot. They chose the dog and financial misery.

You know I see the connection. Daughter struggles. Buys a home. Now she gets a piece of it taken away from her as her reward by a person who didn't have the same discipline. It feels a lot like my situation of I have freedom because I carefully planned for it and basically bought it...and now some schmoes who did not have the same discipline want me to pick up the slack for them by taking it from me (I'm speaking of my siblings who are running away from the fire as fast as they can).

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Re: Does one owe it to their parents to take care of them in old age?

Post by OldPro » Tue Nov 17, 2015 6:09 pm

LOL, you're welcome for the link Sclass but I think you have missed the point of the widow scenario I gave and how to connect the two.

The widowed mother made bad decisions in life. Not because she chose to but because both she and her husband were just the way they were. Not too bright, fiscally irresponsible and too giving in their lives. Sounds like a lot of very normal, average, nice people to me.

The daughter could insist her Mother learn to live within her limited means and come live in a bedroom in her house. Of course, the mother would be miserable doing so (as would I in the same circumstances) but hey she would then be living within her means and fiscally responsible. But would that really be helping or solving the problem? I don't think so.

The best answer is for the daughter to give her $500 a month and let her live on her own happily. Life isn't fair Sclass, accept that and what it means. Would it be fairer for the mother to support herself? Yes. Would it be fairer if siblings helped contribute towards the money the mother needs to live a basic but happy life? Yes. Is either happening? NO.

So you go from what IS, not what you wish WAS. Then you accept it isn't fair and move on. Put 'fair' behind you. By concentrating on the behaviour of your father and siblings, it is only YOU that is suffering because of it. Yet you insist on holding on to 'fair' and not putting it behind you.

There is a story (parable) of two monks who belonged to a particularly strict religious order. One day they were walking along the road and came to a woman sitting and crying on the bank of a stream. They asked why she was crying and she told them she was afraid to try and cross the stream as she might be swept off her feet and drown. She had to get to the next town because her daughter was sick and so she wanted to get to her. One monk picked her up and carried her across so she could go on her way.

After she left them the second monk said to the first, 'I can't believe you picked her up. Our vows strictly forbid the touching of a woman under any circumstances.' The first monk replied, 'she needed help and I gave it. I think God will forgive my transgression of my vow in this case.'

The two monks walked on a bit longer and the second monk finally spoke again. 'I still can't believe you carried that woman and broke your vow.' The first monk replied, 'I did carry her but then I put her down and moved on with my life. You my friend are still carrying her'.

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Re: Does one owe it to their parents to take care of them in old age?

Post by Ego » Tue Nov 17, 2015 6:28 pm

OldPro wrote:So you go from what IS, not what you wish WAS. Then you accept it isn't fair and move on. Put 'fair' behind you. By concentrating on the behaviour of your father and siblings, it is only YOU that is suffering because of it. Yet you insist on holding on to 'fair' and not putting it behind you.
Absolutely not!

By all means, accept what you can't control. But do not blindly accept things that are causing you to suffer if you have a measure of control over them. Or if you can influence the situation in some way.

Yeah, sure, the monk put her down and walked away. Sclass is, day after day, carrying her. While his siblings do nothing. He's got every right to be pissed if he so chooses.

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Re: Does one owe it to their parents to take care of them in old age?

Post by SimpleLife » Tue Nov 17, 2015 8:52 pm

RealPerson wrote:
OldPro wrote:Few if any parents want to have to rely on their children to support them in their old age. But they should not have to ask themselves, 'will they support me if I need supported.'
Great argument you give here OldPro. Just like there are parents who abandon their children, there are children who abandon their parents in need. Children, especially younger ones, really don't have free choice. The parents decide much for them. For older parents, that is different. If the parents chose to live unwisely and spend eveything they earned, is that really the child's problem to solve? The child has no real choices. The parent does. So the child-parent analogy doesn't hold water 100%.

In the end, it still is about love, not obligation. If I ever need help from my kids, I hope it will come from love, not from a sense of them owing me. And I surely hope that if I need help, it will not be because of my foolish decisions, but due to circumstances beyond my control.

Good analogy. I could see helping out with an expense here and there, or letting one move in with me if they were otherwise going to be homeless, but I don't see an obligation to be their retirement nest egg. I didn't have a choice as to whether I was born or not, but I refuse to be anymore of a slave than I already am (exorbitant taxes).

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Re: Does one owe it to their parents to take care of them in old age?

Post by Sclass » Wed Nov 18, 2015 1:01 am

OldPro you've certainly calmed me down with your advice and I'm thinking more clearly.

I did misunderstand the widow story. As an aside, giving away 1/4 of my house or $500 is equally unpleasant.

Perhaps I'm lying to myself, but I don't really care if things are fair. I actually hate fair games. Level playing fields have no potential. I like unfair games whether they are in my favor or not. Winning becomes a matter of choosing a side.

I just don't like letting someone use the time that I bought to support their own selfish lifestyle. Specifically my dad uses me as a free manager so he can maintain his household to his specifications. What's the use of polygamy when you sell the second home and institutionalize the second wife? You're back in boring monogamy land again.

I support this for recognition, love or obligation, not fairness. I actually have a deep love for my siblings and father. If I didn't acquiesce to our arrangement he would go to my sister or brother. And in all honesty I don't want them subjected to this madness. I love them. That's why it hurts me to see them back away as I burn.

So this thread has really helped me arrive here. I need to stop what I'm doing. I'm supporting my dad's vision of mom's elder care. None of this would have happened if I hadn't shown up. I quit. It's actually quite beautiful how you can easily take back what you have always owned. I need to stop doing what I'm doing and let somebody else do it. Somebody will undoubtedly step in for me.

Again my situation is different. Money isn't the problem. People are the problem.


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Re: Does one owe it to their parents to take care of them in old age?

Post by Sclass » Wed Nov 18, 2015 9:07 am

Thank you Ego. I was too young to understand Sartre when it was presented to me...or maybe YouTube is just a better venue for this info. Brilliant stuff.

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Re: Does one owe it to their parents to take care of them in old age?

Post by teresajs » Wed Nov 18, 2015 10:15 pm

I understand the dilemma you're having Sclass. How much do we allow others to negatively influence our own retirement. In my case, my husband and I do not plan to have enough retirement income to meet our needs and to make a significant difference in the lives of our parents. We could, and would, help in modest amounts and ways from time-to-time. But our time (and money) have been hard-earned and hard-won for our own benefit, and it should be up to us to choose how to spend them.

Are we sacrificing now to earn life energy for ourselves, later, or to repay our parents' misspent youths?

In our case, the parents who will likely need/want more time and/or money have done, and continue to do, themselves no favors, despite our pleas. We have one parent who was set for a comfortable retirement and gambled away most of his money in just the last few years. Despite that, he and his wife are still living well (boat, expensive motorcycles, etc..). Do my husband and I owe it to him to sacrifice our own lifestyle, in retirement, when our family member runs out low on money? If he becomes ill, do we owe it to him to become his caregiver? Or do we owe it to ourselves to live the retirement we've planned for so long?

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Re: Does one owe it to their parents to take care of them in old age?

Post by OldPro » Fri Nov 20, 2015 11:08 am

"Yeah, sure, the monk put her down and walked away. Sclass is, day after day, carrying her. While his siblings do nothing. He's got every right to be pissed if he so chooses."

The monk helped her for as long as she needed help Ego. I would suggest to you that what Sclass is carrying day after day is not his Mother, it is his Father and siblings he is carrying on his back. They are what he needs to let go of, not his Mother. It isn't managing his Mother's care that is upsetting him, it is dwelling on the behaviour of his Father and siblings that is upsetting him. So which is it that needs to be dealt with?

In the monk analogy, the other monk couldn't let go of the issue of a broken vow. When the first monk said 'you are still carrying her', he was not referring to the other monk physically carrying the woman was he. He was referring to the other monk still carrying the issue of a broken vow derived from the carrying of the woman.

You seem to want to only see it from a very simplistic viewpoint and attach blame Ego. That will get Sclass absolutely nowhere. No one is arguing that it is unfair for his Father and siblings to lay it all on his shoulders to deal with. That is NOT the issue. The issue is how can Sclass deal with what IS? There are only two alternatives. Change it if possible or find a way to look at it in a different way and accept what IS.

He can be 'pissed if he so chooses' as you say or he can find a better answer than going around being pissed off all the time. Which would you rather do?

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Re: Does one owe it to their parents to take care of them in old age?

Post by OldPro » Fri Nov 20, 2015 11:25 am

Here is what I would do if it is as bad as Sclass says.

I would go to a lawyer and discuss the process and likelihood of getting legal custody/guardianship of my Mother. I would then begin that process and have the lawyer advise my Father and siblings of what I was doing. I would tell them that since they were not sharing responsibility for my Mother, that I intended to take FULL responsibility for her LEGALLY. I would tell them that when I got it, I intended to have her put in a good quality care home where she belongs and legally obtain financial support for that from all of them. If they won't share in the responsibility then they will get no say in what happens. I take the responsibility and I decide what will happen.

That is dealing with the issue. The issue being the behaviour of the Father and siblings. You step up to the plate and deal with the issue (enact change) OR you accept what IS and find a way to change how you view what is. What you do NOT do is sit and moan about it which only harms yourself and no one else.

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Re: Does one owe it to their parents to take care of them in old age?

Post by Sclass » Sat Nov 21, 2015 11:18 am

OldPro, that is excellent advice. Thank you. A wise family member and another friend gave me exactly the same advice two years ago.

You left out my favorite option- run away and be happy. It has worked for everyone else involved.

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Re: Does one owe it to their parents to take care of them in old age?

Post by OldPro » Sat Nov 21, 2015 11:33 am

Yet again you refer to 'everyone else'. FORGET everyone else and decide what YOU are doing or not doing. You can decide to DO something or decide to accept what IS and see it in a different and more positive way. It's YOUR choice.

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Re: Does one owe it to their parents to take care of them in old age?

Post by Sclass » Sat Nov 21, 2015 1:57 pm

OldPro wrote:Yet again you refer to 'everyone else'. FORGET everyone else and decide what YOU are doing or not doing. You can decide to DO something or decide to accept what IS and see it in a different and more positive way. It's YOUR choice.
I've decided what to do. And, it isn't "nothing". Nothing would be maintaining the status quo. There is nothing like the present to quit. Thank you for the virtual shake ups...they've made me rethink what I really want out of this.

Mom is actually in good hands compared to most older people needing care. She lives in her home with caregivers providing bathing, changing, walking and three meals. Just the manager of the whole thing is AWOL recently. The source of funding is still strong and online. How bad is that? I think my situation is getting way off topic. We can start another thread called SClass's elder care journal if you'd like.

OP was do we owe parents time and money for elder care. My mom has care. Time to go to the farmers market and enjoy my retirement.

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Re: Does one owe it to their parents to take care of them in old age?

Post by BlueNote » Sun Nov 22, 2015 10:16 pm

I am not sure how I feel about this, but Jacob's logic is pretty good.

Essentially I think it mostly depends on your culture, how you were raised, the relationship with your parents and your personal preferences. For the most part I think children should provide care for their parents: shelter, food, medical care, companionship, etc. I'll leave the wiping of bums and other very specific matters as immaterial to the basic obligation.


I am adopted and my adoptive parents divorced. This leaves me with 4 potential sets of parents to take care of:

1. My birth Mother and her husband who I have known for about a decade.
2. My birth father who I have never met and do not plan on searching out.
3. My mother who raised me and my step father who mostly raised me.
4. My father who left my mother and basically just visited me 3 or 4 weeks a year until I became an adult.

Using Jacob's tallying method

1. kind and responsible (AFAIK)
2. ?
3. Kind to me (less kind to my wife) and sort of in a gray area on the line between irresponsible and responsible (getting worse with age)
4. Relatively kind and the most responsible relatives compared to the rest of the them.



Group 1: I don't mind pitching in to help out but I am betting my half blood siblings who were raised by them will do all the heavy lifting.

Group 2 : I don't even know if I would want to get to know him, he may not even know I exist. So this is just going to be a TBD for now.

Group 3: I'm an only child to my Mom. The plan with my Mom and Step Dad is to let them continue on their financial path as long as they can, this is what they want. My mom hates working but likes spending money , I worry when she retires soon that she'll burn through her government pension too quickly and my step dad will continue working into his 80's. Luckily they aren't so stupid with money as to have taken too much leverage or gotten caught in a get rich quick scheme (but theres' still time!). They suffer strongly from powdered butt syndrome so they won't listen to their CPA son who has no debt and will likely have a higher net worth than they do in 5 years. Therefore my wife and I have agreed to let them live the way they want until they can no longer do so. At that point I'll step in an have them declared dependents (shared with my step brother) and we'll take legal control over their assets. I'll put them in a home, manage their remaining net worth and ensure they're taken care of. Likely they'll be put into a government subsidized home with tons of baby boomer roommates. They'll probably complain a lot because they were removed from the lifestyle they were used to, they'll guilt me and try to make me feel bad and try to get moved to a fancy home. Their parents got to to go to fancy homes but then their parents also had fancy assets so they're going to be sour about that. I'm just going to make sure they're loved, visited, sheltered, fed properly, get proper exercise, given good medical care and have people and activity opportunities. Luckily Canada has a good social safety net so I'm not too worried about ERE being jeopardized.

Group 4: Dad and step mom have gold plated pensions and will probably have gold plated old folks homes, no worries they'll have enough money to pay for anything.

I don't know the future so we'll see how that goes.

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Re: Does one owe it to their parents to take care of them in old age?

Post by EMJ » Mon Nov 23, 2015 7:22 am

BlueNote wrote: I'll put them in a home,
You make that sound very simple. When the time comes I think you'll find reality is much, much more difficult.

I just put my mother who has dementia in a home. It's a very good home, and she is mostly ok there. Still it's hard. Loneliness, confusion, dependency - some of these things are part of dementia, some of them are due to old age. As the person responsible you will likely bear the brunt of all complaints and concerns.

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Re: Does one owe it to their parents to take care of them in old age?

Post by BlueNote » Tue Nov 24, 2015 9:06 pm

EMJ wrote:
BlueNote wrote: I'll put them in a home,
You make that sound very simple. When the time comes I think you'll find reality is much, much more difficult.

I just put my mother who has dementia in a home. It's a very good home, and she is mostly ok there. Still it's hard. Loneliness, confusion, dependency - some of these things are part of dementia, some of them are due to old age. As the person responsible you will likely bear the brunt of all complaints and concerns.
Indeed I will bear the brunt but frankly I know that none of my parents wants to come to live with me and my wife. They have only ever visited me once or twice in their lives and they hate where I live and how I live (in a small apartment as opposed to a house 3 times bigger than needed). If I put them in a care facility they'll complain that they miss home, but if I leave them at home then they will likely be a danger to themselves. I will hear complaints, they might be bitter about it. The actual move to the care home will be very difficult, it has sucked for all my grandparents. My grandmother from my Dad's side decided she didn't want to live anymore and just stopped eating and drinking liquids resulting in her death. She had a DNR request made and the hospital and family complied. She died on her own terms and I think moving into the home spurred her on.


I have had a few people tell me that because my parents changed my diapers I must change theirs, usually followed by a story of how they did it for their parents. I think that's fine but it's certainly not the one and only way of doing things good and right by your family. I have no doubt that the concrete reality will be much harder to bear than this almost purely theoretical discussion, perhaps I will change my mind and look back on this thread as the rantings of an inexperienced childless young adult.

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Re: Does one owe it to their parents to take care of them in old age?

Post by BlueNote » Tue Nov 24, 2015 9:31 pm

jacob wrote: (I realize this is a very culturally determined issue. For example, filial responsibility is an extremely strong value in Asian cultures.)

When I was living Japan I learned that there was an extreme amount of pressure on the eldest sons daughter to take care of the sons mother and father during old age until they died. As a result of the arrangement the son would get all the assets, including the house, when they died. It's a very patriarchal society so when people get divorced there the assets generally all go to the men, as a result the woman almost all keep secret stashes of cash just in case this happens (interesting phenomenon called Hesokuri). Also as a result of these arrangements eldest sons have a much harder time landing a spouse because, rightly so, many woman don't want to be saddled into taking care of their inlaws until they die.

When someone starts talking about the filial piety of Asians I am reminded of how it really works for the Japanese. As for the other Asian cultures I would imagine similar economically rational behaviour is present. I am sure there are tons of Asians who take filial piety seriously and honour it totally. However in my experience people , being people, tend to find a way to override silly (outdated) externally imposed rules while still finding a way to appear to live within those rules.

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Re: Does one owe it to their parents to take care of them in old age?

Post by George the original one » Wed Nov 25, 2015 1:14 pm

It's been my experience that old folks will complain no matter what if complaining was already a way of life for them.

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