I’ve got a question for you? This is serious: Is it a given that as our parents age, it’s our responsibility to take care of them?  This is a growing debate for our generation, given that so many of us are SANDWICHed between raising our own kids and caring for our own family while at the same time having to care for and in many cases pay for the care of our aging parents!

I polled my audience this week about this issue, and the debate is ON!

Should adults be responsible for their elderly parents’ care? One person I polled said:

NO! PARENTS SHOULD HAVE POSITIONED THEMSELVES AND TAKEN ADVANTAGE OF THE OPPORTUNITIES TO DO SO THEMSELVES. OUR COMMUNITY DOES A POOR JOB AT PLANNING FOR FUTURE REALITIES. WHEN REALITY PRESENTS ITSELF WE BLAME AND ARE THE VICTIMS…WHEN IN FACT WE ARE THE ONLY ONES TO BLAME. PRAYER CHANGES THINGS BUT CAN WE STOP BEING SPIRITUAL NUTS AND PARTNER WITH GOD?!

But another person who answered my poll this week said:

YES I DO! (BELIEVE THAT ADULTS SHOULD BE RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR ELDERLY PARENT’S CARE). THIS PERSON SAID, I AM “OLD SCHOOL” WITH STRONG FUNDAMENTAL MORAL AND FAMILY VALUES. IT BOTH AMAZES ME AND SADDENS ME THAT ONE MAMA CAN CARE FOR TEN BABIES; BUT “TEN” BABIES CAN’T CARE FOR “ONE” MAMA! TOGETHER, WE AS PARENTS ALONG WITH THIS WARPED SOCIETY WE LIVE IN HAVE FAILED THIS GENERATION TREMENDOUSLY IN INSTILLING FAMILY AND MORAL VALUES!

Wow! This is a tough, tough issue and it gets us heated because if effects SO MANY OF US right now, today!

Interestingly older blacks are twice as likely as whites to receive care from family members when their health declines; black family networks provide the main source of needed assistance for African American elderly. And the elder population is growing exponentially. We’re living LONGER than we ever have before and we’re now faced with issues that we’ve never had to face before. When Mom and Dad are living to 80, 90 and 100, who’s gonna care for them, emotionally, physically and financially?

Have you had “the talk” with your parents about what’s going to happen as they get older? It can be a difficult conversation…OR as in my case, it’s NOT talked about but it’s assumed.  When my Dad got older, he only wanted to live with me and I was TOTALLY unprepared. He’d NEVER talked about what life would be like when he got older. He’d had three wives and several sons and daughters and he put me in a real dilemma. When you’re seen as “THE FINANCIALLY SUCCESSFUL ONE” in your family I found out the hard way that impacts everything! When my Dad was done living his life, and wanted my home to become his final resting spot…I just couldn’t care for him along with my four kids, husband and job. I told him no, he couldn’t stay with me.

I know, this makes me a horrible daughter, right? Or does it?

I believe we’ve GOT to have the fierce conversations up front! We can’t assume or take for granted what the future may hold when it comes to caring for our aging process. And when there are other family members, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews…ALL have to be brought into the conversation. Otherwise, things can get really, really ugly.

Ladies, and Gentlemen, the issue of who’s caring for Momma and Daddy is HERE TO STAY IN OUR LIFETIME AND BEYOND. Make no mistake about it, SOCIAL SECURITY and the GOVERNMENT’S ABILITY TO PAY FOR OUR AGING SOCIETY IS eventually going to go away! And right now, the national average annual cost of care for a private room in a nursing home is over $85,000 a year. It costs over $39,000 for an assisted living facility, and if you need home care that cost is around $20.00 per hour. Plus PLEASE let’s factor in the EMOTIONAL COSTS, RELATIONAL COSTS with our own family and spouses… CAREER COSTS if we have to quit our jobs or go on extended leave to care for an aging relative…this, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN is one of the MOST SIGNIFICANT topics in our lifetime.

It’s in our faces. Right here. Right now. I call it SOCIAL IN-SECURITY! Who’s Caring For Mom & Dad As They Age?

So . . . . What do you think? SHOULD WE BE RESPONSIBLE FOR OUR ELDERLY PARENT’S CARE? Are we morally responsible? Why or Why not? What’s your story?  Are you currently a caregiver for an elderly parent or relative who you dislike or even hate…OR who’s mean and difficult to get along with? Post your comments!

You’ve got to hear what my audience had to say in this very powerful show. LISTEN HERE.  I have a gift for you! Go to my website at http://www.jenniferkeitt.com to download “JENNIFER’S TOOLKEITT” resources, articles, tips and pointers on the topic of SOCIAL IN-SECURITY for your life. And be sure to tune in to THE JENNIFER KEITT SHOW Sundays, 7 -8 pm ET on KISS 104, Atlanta’s R&B.

 

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