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essaid, some people think that what we get from our parents we should pay back to them. Some people think that we pay it forward, to the next generation.

Some people live close to their parents and see them often, and help out. Some people live in the same town and seldom see their parents and virtually never help them. Some people live far away and manage to stay in touch and to provide help as needed. And some people went far away specifically to avoid dealing with abusive or neglectful parents.

As far as helping before marriage goes, most parents do not yet need help at that point. They are probably in their prime in health and in earning power. It is more often that they may need help when their children are in the middle of raising children themselves.

We don't have a uniform cultural norm in this country for what is expected of children regarding their parents. And what happens is all over the map.

I do not think it is up to young people to do "proper planning" to take care of their parents before they get married. It is very appropriate for them to think ahead to their own old age.

We have a situation now that is different than any generation before us has faced. There have always been a small percent of the population that lived into their mid-eighties and even to a hundred. But now that is not a small percentage. Many, many people outlive their savings. Many face the financially devastating specter of chronic illnesses and dementia. Nobody -- not the individuals themselves, their children, our social policies, the health insurance industry -- nobody planned adequately for this new development.

I would not say that the "problem" is the fault of children not planning how to take care of their parents or old people who didn't plan well. The issue is much more wide-sweeping than that, and much more complex.

Take a son who 40, with parents in their late 60s. He is trying to figure out how to help his two children to get through college without massive debts. He also knows that somehow he needs to build up funds in the next 25 years or so that will support him for 25 years after he retires! How much can he plan on supporting his parents? His wife also has a good income. She is an only child, and her parents are already dealing with expensive illnesses.

Our present methods and social infrastructure worked reasonably well when most people lived perhaps 10 years beyond their working years. But now that huge numbers are living 15 to 35 years beyond their retirement, holy cow! things aren't working as smoothly.

Expecting the current generation of young people to support themselves, their children, prepare for their own non-working years, and also plan for their parents' old age is just plain unreasonable, in my opinion.

Extended life spans are a mixed blessing. There is no point in pointing fingers about whose "fault" it is that we haven't quite figured out how to deal with it yet.
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Life happens. You go off to college, find a good job in another state or country --- your parents are still young and they're proud to see you getting on in life. Then they get old, but you're still living across the country from them and that's where your kids are, your friends, your job, your home, your yard. It creeps up on them and on you. So what do you do? Resign from your job? Sell your house? Leave your kids and friends behind to go to your parents' town? And then the years pass and your kids need to ask themselves, why they live so far from their parents? And the answer is: our life is here, not there. Families don't stay in one place.
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Hopefully we live in places where we can find our bliss, work and be happy.
As parents, we do our best to provide an education and social awareness to & for our kids so that they too can find places where they can find their bliss, work and be happy. If it's the same city, terrific but if it is another state or county, terrific. They should not be expected to live where the parents are or care for them.
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We live where we find employment for the most part. I'd venture to say that is why our parents settled where they settled. Before our parents get old and require care is the time for them to prepare for the future, NOT after we, their kids, have established a life elsewhere. Some parents do this and then some parents just shuffle through life expecting their kids to drop what they're doing, move where they are, leave their jobs and families behind. They got a chance at life doing it their way but don't afford their own kids the same privilege. Wow, talk about selfish!
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Essaid, the " melting pot" of our country takes the habits, behaviors and traditions from each country and they evolve after being in the United States, even after one generation due to the rampant "anything goes" society we live in. There are communities within the United States that try to maintain the pure values of the original culture, but it is difficult to maintain. For me to say anymore would cause me to comment on politics and religion, and we don't discuss those topics on this forum.
Each of us, each family in the USA is free to maintain traditional values within each home or community, and many of us hold similar values. We also adopt the motto "Live and Let Live." We hope that all people do what is kind and loving, what is honorable and compassionate. I believe the majority of people are good. Obviously, some have psychological problems, have been abused by their parents, and have not grown up in families that encouraged unity, education, and a loving supportive environment. I'm sure this happens worldwide. We all do the best we can.
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Essaid, I think in the case where parents truly do work tirelessly for the betterment of their children that the argument for reverse obligation can be made. But sadly in so many families that is not what happens, abuse or neglect occurs, or parents simply seeing their children as indentured servants for life. There is the ideal of the best parent and best child and how it should be, but unfortunately that is often not the case. Then we add in real life circumstances as individual personality differences and things become more complicated. I do wish it could be a better world for all concerned.
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I moved to my current place 21 years ago. It is an hours drive from where my mother lives. Not that she is getting on in years, she wants me to move closer to help her, but refuses to move closer to me. Her ideology-she has lived longer where she is compared to where I live and it would be easier for me to move. I hate where she lives it is to congested and too much traffic. I love the rural environment of where I live. So if my mother wants me to be around more to help her, it will be her moving closer, not me.
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Just an interesting factoid ...

Percentage of population over 65: Belize, 3.5% US 12.8%

Hmmm .... It will be interesting to see what impact extended life expectancy will have as it reaches the population of Belize.
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Hmmm.... Well, unfortunately I dated and married someone I met right after High School. We dated for 4 years and married after college graduation. My husband received a Commision into to the US Army. Growing up, NEVER IN A MILLION YEARS did I think I would live away from my parents!
Just because we didn't live in the same State.....didn't mean that we never saw each other !! Before my mother fell ill with ALS, her and dad would drive or fly to GA to be with me when my husband was out on 3 week training missions, 3 month training missions in CA or Operation Brightstar when his Batallion were called to duty for a training excerise OR when his Batallion was the DRB, and was called up in 48 hours boots off the ground to head to Iraq in 1998.
Anyway, you make it work! When my mother was ill, I would fly in and help her and dad out. I do the same for my Dad now, or at least I try.....my so called family keeps me away.
17 years later, husband is still in the Army and my kids and I support him completely!! We are a Military family, I am an ARMY WIFE and I take great pride in that!
Besides, until last October, I saw and talked to my father more often than my brother did.....AND HE LIVES 45 MINUTES FROM DAD! I visit my dad for at least 2 weeks every summer and again over the Holiday's.

So the reason why I do not live close to my parents is because my husband is a Soldier a Leader and he fights the good fight so that we may come on the blog and express our opinions.
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I at first laughed when I read your question. Lord knows, some days, I wish when I was around age 20, I'd moved far, far away and not returned to my home town ever! And this is gonna sound so hateful, but in my world, folks would just die peacefully in their sleep sometime in their, say, 75th year or so. Time enough time to enjoy retirement and grandchildren. Having worked as a medical transcriber for 36 years, I don't understand why we in this country bend over backward so far to keep folks going and to stop nature from taking its course. The mainstream media continues to scare and bombard us to death with so-called preventive medicine and procedures which keeps us popping pills, getting lab work done, lining up for testing, etc., etc., all becoming increasingly expensive. We're headed for "stack em and pack em's," high-rise nursing homes and apartments just to keep us hobbling along maybe another 10 years, how very depressing. Thank God for alternative medicine and the internet, at least you can communicate with others and educate yourself and then make some decisions.

I do what I can for mom but neither she or I, even at my age, will be doing any more colonoscopies, mammograms or other things unless we have symptoms. I thank God she is physically pretty healthy and does have money. I will do my best to keep her out of a facility but frankly, as I'm training to be a nurse's aide (will be out of a job as a transcriber at age 59 so had to pick another "career"), I will probably be working in one of them and will hopefully be able to keep an eye on her and who's dealing with her.
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