Responsibility to Care for ParentsAccording to the California 3rd District Court of Appeals, adult children have a legal responsibility to provide reasonable a care for their aging parents.
It’s sad that we need laws and courts to enforce what, in most societies, is the norm. Even all the discussion about being part of Gen Sandwich assumes that caring for aging parents and children is a burden. Underlying most of the literature and blogs is the assumption that this care interferes with my right to “my” life. I confess I sometimes feel that way when I’m feeling smooshed between conflicting demands. But is that wrong? Normal? Cultural?
I love the attitude of Patricia in Washing the Feet of the Saints. Read her November 25 and 29 posts. Would that more of us had her heart of service. Would that I had her heart of service more often.
Recently we visited a Native American pueblo in New Mexico. While on the tour, someone asked what happens to the elderly in their community. The tour guide responded matter-of-factly that they are cared for in the home of one of their children or grandchildren. “They cared for us when we were babies, so we take care of them when they are babies.”
This reminds me of a phrase we often said when our son was growing up. When we’d do something especially nice for him, we’d joke, “We’re being good to you when you’re little so that you’ll be good to us when we’re little.” We sort of assumed we were just talking about the period we’re in now, when he’s physically bigger than us and off living his own life. And so far, he is pretty good to us.
But the bigger question is how he’ll treat us when we are old and frail. When we need the type of help my parents need now. We can only hope that he takes note of how we care for them, and will do at least that much for us. Maybe more.