Baby Boomers Value Caring for Aging Parents more than Earlier GenerationAccording to a press release by the University of Southern California (USC), boomers place a higher value on caring for their aging parents than their parents’ generation did. These findings surprised the researchers, who expected to find concern waning as age decreased. They also found that women exhibited more concern for family than men did.
I don’t know about the research, but it seems that everywhere I turn, I find women my age heavily involved in parent care. One friend provides most of the care and connection for her mother-in-law, spending one day per week with her. Another friend just returned from a trip to southern California to help her mother prepare for surgery. A teacher friend in Texas is responsible for the care of her mother who lives four hours away. A friend in Wyoming has had her mother living in her home for several years. And a friend in Arizona just moved her ailing grandmother into her home.
The women I know are conflicted about these responsibilities. We love our parents and want to serve them, and yet we’re not very good at juggling. We wish there were better answers. The combination of the emotional, time, and financial toll puts a strain on our relationships, our families, and our jobs. And yet, we’d never think of abandoning our parents. Even the ones who weren’t there for us. Family truly is a value for our generation.
Caring for our parents gives us an opportunity to test and prove our values. We put not only our money, but our lives, where our values are. It’s easy to say we believe in caring for them; it’s entirely another thing to do it. Day after day, week after week, year after year. Perhaps there’s hope for our generation after all. And hopefully we’re communicating these values to our kids, who will take our places as the caregivers as we take our parents’ places as the care receivers.