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Example, the kitchen was Mom's domain and Dad wasn't allowed in the kitchen except to eat or if Mom needed a bottle opened, etc. Mom had age related limited eyesight so I can understand her not wanting Dad to move things about. Thus, once Mom [98] passed, Dad [94] became so lost in the kitchen he does very very little for himself.


Dad is now living in Independent Living. Thank goodness the place offers housekeeping otherwise Dad would need to learn how to use a washer and dryer... or learn how to run a vacuum... or how to clean the toilet.


Dad does have morning caregivers every other day, who make him breakfast and lunch, shower, and keep him tidy, etc. But on their days off, Dad sits there waiting for someone to do this or that for him. He will make himself a bowl of cereal for breakfast and again at lunch even though the caregivers make him a sandwich and leave it in the refrigerator for the next day. Dad's afraid to look past the milk in the refrigerator. It's amazing how things are ingrained in one's mind.


Apparently in the past Mom also had control over the laundry so Dad won't go into the linen closet to put out new towels after housekeeping washes/dries and puts the towels back in the linen closet.... one day I found paper towels drying on the towel racks.


If only my parents were cross-trained.... [sigh].


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There's also a factor similar to one addressed in economics: competitive advantage. As some countries had competitive advantages b/c of more abundant raw materials and cheaper labor costs, other countries had the advantage of a more educated workforce. Econ theory was that these countries gravitated toward and concentrated on those aspects of production they could best handle.

Of course, now that's a more simplistic attitude, but I think Windy's and Wllie's points raise a similar issue between men and women, especially when it comes to financial issues.

Some men, and some women, have a natural aptitude for certain things, and are going to gravitate toward those activities. A husband who works in finance might have more aptitude for management of household finances than his wife. And a woman who's handy with tools might take over the household fix-it chores.
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Yes, age has nothing to do with it!
My dad could whip up supper for us when my mom was sick and even mop the floor if he had to. Mom was a working woman until she married in her 30s so she knew how to budget her money and could go to the barn to do the chores if she had to. The fact that neither did those things on a regular basis didn't reflect inability, rather lack of desire.
There are plenty of young women who feel that gassing up the lawnmower or changing a flat tire somehow make them less feminine, playing the helpless becomes a form of flirting, and guys pretending they can't fry an egg is the opposite side of that same coin. Most of this stuff isn't rocket science, anybody with half a brain can figure it out if they are willing to try.
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Old dog new tricks thing. Ain't gonna happen in most cases. I'm 61 and I don't like learning new stuff. Setting up new laptop, program, smart phone....Hate all that crap.

My wife and I would be fine on our own, I can cook and do house work, in a fashion, and she knows where the water main and electrical panel is and can put air in the tires. The cross training needs to be done early in life. Once we're old and stubborn it's usually too late.

I have friends and neighbors who are hopelessly locked in their male female roles. Men who can't fry an egg and women who would sit in the dark cause they can't flip a breaker.
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Jeanne, you are right about my parents generation.

I even have issues with my sig other's generation [same one as mine], like when a button came off a shirt he wanted me to sew it back on..... so I showed him where the thread and needle were located and said "I know as much about sewing as you do".... eventually he took the shirt to a tailor :P
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FF, I feel I have fully done my duty by cross-training my children. Taking on that job with my parents would have been waaaay beyond how I saw my role.

The world was a very different place when our parents married. Expecting them to now take on our values and views is simply not realistic, in my view.
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