Sometimes I Feel Like a Piece of Bologna

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Will Narcissism Compromise our Eldercare?

Those of us in the Boomer generation know that our prospects for receiving eldercare are not as good as those of our parents. For starters, we had fewer children to spread the load. While it takes two of us, plus my hubby, to care for Mom, Hubby and I have one son and one DIL. And in addition to us, they have her mom. And, they will hit the care giving stage at least ten years younger than we did -- while still caring for children at home. They will be more sandwiched than we are.

Add to this an article in that suggests that the younger generation also lacks the emotional temperament to provide good care. They cite a culture of narcissism as a barrier to both family and institutional care from the younger generation.

The author describes a key element to narcissistic behavior as “chronic empathic failure: the ability or willingness to recognize, perceive, and relate to the emotions of another person, to experience the world from another’s point of view…empathy develops over time, reinforced constantly by positive experiences of emotional attunement with others….” He says the young generation risks "favoring self promotion over helping others" and may have a harder time forming relationships.

I'm grateful that our kids are not narcissistic. They do have empathy. But they're also very busy with their own lives. They care, but aren’t in a position to drop everything and sit at the hospital for a week like I've been doing. That’s the luxury of people my age. But how do we prepare them for the inevitable care giving they will need to do? Your thoughts?

Photo courtesy of Josep Ma. Rosell  via Flickr Creative Commons

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