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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3 comment(s):

I did this once and it didn't post so let's try again. My adult son and his wife live with us since they got married about a year ago. I hope that since we have cared for them, that they will care for us when the time comes. I do see the selfishness at least in my DIL because she is sooooo young. I think that will go away as she matures. Your friend, Jeanne

By Anonymous Jeanne, at 5:08 PM  

I am have no kids but am caring for my mom, it is a tough situation that I wasnt prepared for

By Anonymous tom@morethanpepper, at 12:34 PM  

Jeanne, I hope you are able to model for your kids the type of care you hope to receive, both as you care for you mom from afar and as they are with you. Begin to build a generational mindset rather than a "you owe me" one.

Tom, I know what you mean. There is always more to do than you thought. Blessings for your willingness to do the right thing.

By Blogger Pat, at 5:45 PM  

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