Has anyone on this site put the shoe on the other foot and realized that you will be old too someday?

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Our culture has completely changed. Years ago, a senior parent living alone would be living with one of the children and be part of the family. Now they are expected to live alone or in some Senior adult home or assisted living, which now costs a FORTUNE. People think "The Waltons" was fiction, but it was not. When a Senior parent loses their spouse or is left by their spouse for a younger woman, it is difficult to "start over" at that age. Most of their friends have passed away or moved. Family used to be everything. These days even a phone call is too much. How things have changed, and not for the better.


There have been a lot of threads dealing with how we caregivers are preparing for our own old age. Many of us are single or childless, so relying on family has never been an option, but most of those with children are doing everything possible to ensure their own family doesn't have to shoulder the burden of elder care.

BTW, the Walton's may have been the reality in some families but not in ours. Most of my ancestors go off the boat in the 1850s, so they left their elders behind. Many in the next generations died young; in childbirth, in the bush cutting wood, of disease. Widowed men often married a younger wife so she could care for him in his old age. My great grandmother was sent to live with a family in her childhood to help care for the old aunties... she got the last laugh there as she eventually married the son of the family. In her old age all the family strays, old unmarried bachelor aunties and uncles, lived together. I think we should avoid over romanticizing the past, even those who did live in multi generational families like Walton's didn't always get along together.

There are a lot of good thoughts expressed on this thread about caregivers aging and how it's changed perspectives.
Hereforyou, I don't think culture has really changed but illnesses have. What use to cause the passing of one's parent in their 60's and 70's doesn't happen that often any more, thus our parents are living into their 80's, 90's and 100's.

And what happens is the grown child who use to be able to help care for a parent is now an elder themselves. I am pushing 70, there is no way I could physically care for both my parents who are in their mid-90's. Huge difference being 40 year old and caring compared to being in your 60's and 70's. Age decline is now upon us, and we, ourselves, are now fall risk. Who is going to pick ME up???

I gave it some thought and really don't know any families who lived like the Waltons. We are deep South. My mother's family is rural. All of her ancestors died in their 60-70s and never required any caregiving to speak of. My mother at 89 is now the oldest person who has lived in the history of her family.
Oh, I take that back. My great grandmother had a stroke and lay in bed unconscious the last days of her life. My mother told me how they cut a hole in the mattress and put a pot under the bed. They didn't have Depends or hospice back then. She never regained consciousness and died a few days after the stroke.
Even the other families on the show didn't live like the Waltons if I remember correctly. There was a boarding house for older ladies, old Maude lived alone, the Baldwin sisters just had each other, and I don't remember any of the other characters even mentioning their parents. And didn't Grandma spend months in the hospital and only get to come home because Mary Ellen was a nurse?
The biggest change to our culture came from the establishment of Social Security in the 1940's. When elders finally had the option to live alone, most chose to do so rather than move in with their children. This is historical fact, established by demographic research. This changes when people become so old and infirm that they can no longer take care of themselves. Even then, most still choose to live alone; they'd rather keep their space and privacy and let the help come to them. This stage of dependency and infirmity rarely occurred in prior generations and, when it did occur, rarely lasted for years and decades as it does now. This makes caring for them at home, either their own or a grown child's, very difficult, stressful, expensive and exhausting.

I love the example of the Waltons. They had one doctor between them and he made house calls. The grandparents were both sound of mind and body, even able to help around the house and farm. (At least as I remember it) Nothing like the elderly parents most of us (caregivers) are dealing with.

I love
And I think grandpa and grandma Walton were in their 60's .. not 80's and 90's. Makes a HUGE difference.
Carla, you are so right about how our elders will hang onto that home and refuse anyone coming in to help. I was dealing with that with my own parents... no way, no how were they going to move to a retirement village even if it did look like a 5 star resort.... and no way, no how could I hire caregivers to come in to help, Mom chased them out after 3 days.... [sigh]. Dad kept saying "we will manage".

A decade ago my Dad said he didn't think he and Mom would live this long.
This is hereforyou...I wasn't talking about seniors who are infirm or chronically ill. I was talking about seniors just old and alone who would rather be with their families. The Waltons was a true story all about the authors family. They did actually live all together and by his account, got along well. The grandparents were older than their "60's" while still living with them. I personally know of a husband and wife In their 70's living with their daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren by choice and are happy with it. Many more families did this even 50 yrs ago. Today our culture is different, but many seniors would prefer to be with family -- not all single seniors today prefer to live alone in a Condo.

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