I'm always curious about this. Not one person I know says they would be okay with one of their children having to help them with toileting, walking, etc. when they're older. I don't have kids so I don't know what the usual thinking is on this with parents.

Do any of you expect your kids to give you this level of care?

And "well they changed my diaper for me when I was a baby, I owe it to them" just kind of sounds like it's transactional care and guilt talking. But is that how people actually do feel about it?

Thanks for the insights, in advance :)

We all say No, we do NOT want our children caring for us in our old age, changing our Depends, dealing with our out-of-control dementia, blowouts in the bathroom, driving the car when we're too far gone to BE driving the car, wandering out of the house at 2 am, staying up all night screaming & carrying on, etc. Yet we have children of elders here on this site INSISTING it's their 'duty' to do just that; to care for their parents at home b/c it's 'the right thing to do' and because 'mom changed MY diaper when I was a baby' so it's 'my turn to change hers' and 'because I love her and would NEVER PUT HER IN A *GASP* HOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!'

So maybe it's a good idea that we put our wishes IN WRITING so that our children do not feel obligated to care for us when we DO reach the point that we're beyond a 'burden' to them and wind up ruining their lives, their marriages, their jobs and their futures due to caring for us out of misguided guilt & a sense of duty.

I don't know about you, but I certainly did not have children so they could 'repay' me for changing their diapers for a couple of years when they were babies. To compare that to changing MY diapers as a 150 lb (or whatever) grown adult is pure nonsense. And to think my children should have to give up their lives, jobs and families to cater to THAT level of care is beyond selfish & outrageous. Especially when other options are readily available.

What I DO expect of my children in my old age is to call me and to visit me sometimes wherever I'm located to keep me company in my old age. And they should do it out of love & a desire to see me; otherwise, never mind. That's about it. If I have surgery and my DH isn't around to help me b/c he died or whatever, then yes, I would certainly appreciate my son or daughter stepping up to help me out for a week or two to get back on my feet. But that's something entirely different than expecting them to take me on full time in home when I'm very old and demented or wheelchair bound, etc.
Helpful Answer (24)
Reply to lealonnie1
Riverdale Jan 17, 2022
Perfectly stated.
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This is a great discussion with so many helpful insights. It really is a conundrum for so many. There is some disconnect in our culture that says "live as old as you possibly can" yet we don't have the means, as a society, to care for those who have lived a long time but now can not take care of themselves. This website, in my opinion, is dedicated to support for the invisible army of family caregivers who aren't noticed, appreciated and are out there every day doing it because it HAS TO BE DONE.

Everyone wants to live to a ripe old age but in the body they had at 30. Nobody ever does though.
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Reply to ExhaustedOne
Geaton777 Jan 18, 2022
EO, I agree and think that part of the disconnect is:
1) few people really are present when their elderly LO declines so that there's a real first-hand knowledge of what it's like and what it takes to live like that or help the LO on a daily basis.
2) romanticization: we see Hollywood or advertisers' versions of what it's like and it is not reality in any way; when they do plan they are very unrealistic about expectations.
3) denial: people don't want to talk about decline and dying until it's upon them -- and then it's way too late

I'm from the generation where elders retired to a golf community somewhere in the FL. Then the next thing you know they are in the NH, hospital or grave. There's a whole lot that gets missed. My sons have seen their grandparents decline and one pass away, so I'm grateful that they have some real-life experience with it, not just for their grandparents or for me & hubs' sakes, but for themselves and their own planning and expectations from life.
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No, and this is based on my experiences with caregiving 4 different elderly LOs, some of which my sons where involved when they were teens.

My hubs and I recently finalized a Living Trust and we took the opportunity to explain it all to them (they are now 31, 27 and 23 yrs old). At this point only 1 of them has a girlfriend (so no wives). I let them know I would NOT expect or want any of them to provide daily hands-on care for us, and I definitely do not want them to help me with sensitive/private hygiene care -- ever. Now, their dad is another issue and up to him.

If it were "just" a matter of changing a "diaper" then people wouldn't be burning out left and right. It is a naive and romanticized notion that it's like changing the cat litter box. No one who has never been a caregiver can ever imagine what a life altering commitment this is. I couldn't live with the thought of knowingly burning out my own children when there were other options for my care available that I didn't bother to plan for.

As for my mom, I think she used to love the idea of being taken care of by me but then she witnessed first-hand the train wreck that occurred with my in-laws and the toll it took on us and she was disabused of this notion. I reassure her that I will keep her in her home until she is 1) no longer safe without constant supervision and 2) needs more help than I am willing/able to provide or she is willing to accept. She has agreed to go into the very fine facility 3 miles from my home where my MIL currently resides....whether she will remember this agreement is its own issue.
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Reply to Geaton777

I am taking care of my elderly mom... on my 5th year now... really surprised she has lived this long as this will be the oldest in her family history. To me she doesn't like the life she has to live....she has very bad arthritis and she has hernia's that have limited what she can eat. She is very alert for 98, she uses her iPad - checks her checking account, and uses her iPhone to play games. She has what her dr calls is short term memory due to age...I would guess that is some form of dementia...when she is tired it is much worse. I was the least likely to take care of her and yet I am doing it.... And it is tougher than I ever thought.

I am trying to make plans for myself...once I don't have to care for her I will work on it more...because I do not want my children to have to take care of me once I lose my independence. Besides... I have 2 sons.... and I will do whatever I can to prevent it.

I really just don't think my mom planned, I believe she figured she would have a stroke like everyone in her family did.

I don't feel I owe it to my mom, I love her very much.... but it certainly isn't easy.

Make your decisions and make them known to your children...but also get them in writing.
Best Wishes !!
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Reply to lilandrews
bundleofjoy Jan 18, 2022
98 years old:

“uses her iPad, checks her checking account, uses her iPhone to play games”


i hope you can be ok, happy, and your mother too!!
My mother moved next door as I started my family so my kids witnessed her cognitive decline and my stress, as I tried to care for her and cope with her endless demands and her denial of her own condition. She did little for her elders but insisted I owed her my life. Now that she (96) is in a care home, our household is so much more relaxed.

I have discussed dementia and physical limitations with my kids and instructed them that they are not to give up their futures (they’re all still in school) - their careers, their children, their spouses and their lives, to care for me. Sure, I have a much different personality than my own mother. (it seemed like dementia poked holes in the few filters she ever had) My kids are certain I won’t morph into a Queen Bee, and, frankly, I’m hilarious - not the type to ooze negativity. But, one never knows. Let the pros help me with daily care so my relationship with my kids can continue without fear, guilt or resentment. My husband and I are very close with our kids (although they fight with each other) and our job, as we see it, is to set an example and prepare them for adulthood. We’re trying to simplify the upkeep of our home (my rustic dream home in the woods) but we recognize it will one day be too much. That is for us to resolve bit by bit, and not a burden to be dumped on our kids.
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Reply to Anabanana
bundleofjoy Jan 19, 2022
"and, frankly, I’m hilarious"

i see you are.
you've made me smile/laugh/learn, reading your various posts.

hugs!! :)
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Never, never, would I want my daughters to care for me when I need it.

I have instructed them that they are to use my money to get me care, no matter how much I complain and ask to live with them. Dementia has hit the last two generations of my family, so I don’t know what kind of craziness might be coming out of my mouth, by then.

What I AM doing, though, is giving them insight into what kinds of things I have had to do to provide for my mother’s care. I had no idea what to do going into this whole mess. I want my daughters to have a general direction in which to go.

I am in my late 50’s. My husband is 61. We have drawn up legal documents, and made sure that our children have copies.
Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to cxmoody

I've written before about an ex work colleugue.. stated that's what children are for, to look after you blah blah blah. Would invite her daughter to dinner, serve it, then sit like a Queen & smugly told me "she should be thankful I cooked - SHE needs to clean up".

She decided to retire early & stated her kids would now "have to look after her". I asked why, as she was totally independent. I asked if she had been invited to live with her kids? Oh no! "I won't be moving from MY house!"

One kid joined the army & went OS. The other went rural to run a farm.

Always wondered how that worked out for her 😂
Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to Beatty
cherokeegrrl54 Jan 18, 2022
That’s funny, but really it’s not because a lot of people who are “retirement “ age do just that. My best friend in Tx went thru this with her DIL. She had her 3 young sons doing laundry, scrubbing bathrooms , even telling them repeatedly “well you know that’s why I had kids is so you can take care of me”. This really happened. Her husband would have to cook dinner at 930-10 pm and clean up after he came home from work. The wife came home from her part time job (4 hrs) and fixed her food and sat on the couch playing games on her phone or napping. The husband finally divorced her, for good reasons and the judge granted him full custody. But…he also found her an apt and paid first mnths rent. Now he is happy, his boys are happy and he found a lady who became his best friend thru their kids playing sports together. They are now married and live a happy well blended life. I’m glad for those boys bcaus their birth mom was a fat lazy b$$ch….
I fully intend to avoid becoming my children's responsibility. Assuming I have enough money, I want to go to a community that offers everything from Independent Living to end-of-life care. I've already found a low-income senior residence building within a community like the above, so if I don't have the money, I still know that the low-income unit is a possibility.
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Reply to graygrammie

I do not want to leave my only child with the burden of caring for me. I would like to have all of the decisions made, all of the paperwork in order and have most of my things downsized so that there is minimal "stuff" to have to get rid of. I know we do not live in a perfect world and I don't know what my future holds...will I get dementia like my mom, will I get cancer, will I have a stroke? Who knows, but I am not of the mindset that "it's not my problem" or someone else will have to deal with that. I think it's a selfish way to be...and I do know people who feel that way.
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to Jamesj

I do not and hope my 2 sons will not have to take care of me, I have a will in place and pre arrangements have been made. This will be a wait and see what happens situation. No one really wants to go to a home, including me, so hoping for in home care of some sort, when I am a vegetable or totally bonkers then put me in a home, when I get to the point where it won't make a difference then put me in a home. I am an only child, I live 425 miles from my mom who has Alzheimer's dementia, she is not too bad off but I know one day her time will come. I did not want to move this far away but it was the only place I could afford to purchase on a limited income. My mom could have helped me by helping me fix up my old house so I coud remain closer to her but life is what it is .Not one dime. My parents made no plans for retirement and after life. I pay my mom's life insurance and bills. I never want my sons to go through this. We talk about it anyway.
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Reply to grimgraham4
Myownlife Jan 19, 2022
Do you pay her bills with her money or yours?
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