Follow
Share

I was struck by this while reading the answers to another question. It appears, to me, that many of our parents (those in 70 - 100 year old range) have this sense of entitlement, especially when it comes to being cared for and/or being controlling of us and in some cases, their grandchildren. I know my parents did not and would not have been the primary caregivers for their elders but they certainly do think that we should be. In my case, it is not so bad as my dad is great as he is my mom's primary caregiver and I'm like Tonto - his faithful side-kick. Why is that? I'm also amazed at how many of those being cared for (and it appears women are in the majority here) are narcissistic and mean? And when we are in the 'sandwich' position (elder parents on one side and children and grandchildren on the other side) they expect us to do for them and NOT for our children and grandchildren, when I know they never even would have considered that! Is it perhaps because of the age they are living to now....people used to die younger. They used to call us the 'me' generation but I don't think so. I see this so often on this web site. Any thoughts, comments? Perhaps if we can talk this out we might be able to understand some of their behaviors better.

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Find Care & Housing
I want to at least outlive my mom by 30 minutes.
Helpful Answer (23)
Report

Some have a sense of entitlement, and some don't.

I recall overhearing my mom and her sister (5 years apart in age) when they were in their late 30s/early 40s discussing their old age. My Aunt said, "after all I've done, my girls darn well better take care of me when I'm old!" and my mother said, "Oh, I wouldn't want my kids to be taking me to the toilet and stuff. I'd want someone paid to do that." These women are now in their 90s and they still seem to have these attitudes.

Yes, there are WAY more seniors who live with chronic conditions earlier generations would have died from, and therefore who need care, than there ever have been in our history. We don't really know if this older generation is different from previous ones -- we've never had a population like this.

I think this particular website has attracted a large number of people caring for narcissistic parents. It is a place for speaking frankly and once the subject came up word has gotten out. Also web searches bring people here. So I don't think what we see here is necessarily an accurate reflection of the proportion of folks with narcissism. Caregivers of pleasant, easy-going, undemanding parents are just less likely to seek a forum.
Helpful Answer (20)
Report

I've given a lot of thought to this question, but I can't claim to have any real answer. I think there's a lot of truth in what jeannegibbs said, that we've never had a generation that lived so long in such a state of frailty and impairment. Most of them never expected to be dependent or infirm, so never planned for that eventuality. When it happens, they look to the only people left around who are younger and more capable and from whom they can claim assistance based on past sacrifices or whatever. Grown children have trouble refusing their parents, especially knowing the parent has nowhere else to turn. Unfortunately, the more it happens, the more it becomes the new normal, and something everyone begins to expect. The cultural assumption now is that grown children will be called upon to care for their parents and will do it, regardless of the personal cost. The gives the parents' claims extra validity and makes it even harder to resist the pressure. I think our society also supports seniors in feeling entitled to keep every aspect of their lifestyle intact - look at social security, medicare, senior discounts, mandatory disability accommodations. The idea that you should have to give something up because you're not capable of providing it for yourself has become culturally unacceptable, at least if you're over 65.

My mother always said she didn't want to be a burden on her children. However, it turned out to be more acceptable than the alternative, which would be giving up her expectations about the amenities of her lifestyle. She absolutely must have at least two shopping trips per week, at least one trip to the library, miscellaneous other errands such as meals brought in, her house decorated for holidays, her flag put up and taken down, the bird feeders in her yard filled regularly, etc. As well as the doctors' visits, physical care when sick, help paying bills and organizing paperwork, the genuine caregiving "needs." My mother has forgotten all about not wanting to be a burden. Her comfort and convenience are way more important than that. And she has actually fallen back on the old rationalization "I did it for you when you were little" which of course she did not. As kids, we took what we were given - we did not have this set of fixed expectations about how everything should be.

I hope our generation does better in not expecting the next generation to satisfy our every wish and whim for as long as we may live. I myself will have to accept changes and losses, since I don't have children to be a burden to.
Helpful Answer (20)
Report

I've been thinking about this post alot. My grandmother, who was born in 1884 in Ireland, was certainly not someone who could have been said to have a sense of entitlement. She had a sense, rather, of the way things were done. So when she fell and broke her hip in 1965, she lay back on her hospital pillow and said to her lady friends " I'm going to be an invalid. My daughters will care for me". I have no doubt that that was how things would have played out 50 years earlier. But my mother, who had three young children, found out about this new thing called "rehab", which was in part fueled by the availability of Medicare. Rehab? My grandmother never heard of such a thing. People forcing her to stand and walk, after hip surgery? Outrageous!

Grandma was in rehab about 2 miles from where we lived. We went to see her once a week, during which time she berated my mom for putting her there. My told her, we can't take care of you unless you can walk. Grandma sucked it up and learned to walk with a walker, and eventually went back to her little apartment in the Bronx.

My point is this. Our parents can't imagine our lives. They grew up in an era in which there was usually someone at home caring for kids or elders. Nursing homes were hellholes. Only bad parents sent their children to daycare; and only bad children sent their parents to "those places".

Our 2 career, or single parent, or single wage earner lives have us stressed to the max. There is no extra time and no extra money. There is no benevolent boss saying, sure take two weeks at full pay. We need to do what we have to to get care for our parents. Sometimes that includes things that our parents can't imagine could be workable. But we have to take care of ourselves and our families, first and foremost. That is the way it SHOULD be. If you have to push back, so be it.
Helpful Answer (18)
Report

Just for the record, my mom has no sense of entitlement and is grateful for everything that we do.

I agree with Jeanne, lots of folks on this board have extremely narcissistic parents, which is why they need to come here to vent. The folks who have more functional families ( siblings all help out, no one trying to grab money, mom is ccooperative when her loving children tell her it's time to moveto AL) don't need to vent except during emergencies.
Helpful Answer (16)
Report

I did want you all to know that I am a caregiver also and have a family with 2 grown children and 1 grandchild and I have told ALL of them that I have LTC insurance and I want to be placed in a facility should I become incapacitated. I have been helping take care of my mom (who is in end-stage ALZ) for at least 7 to 8 years. I wouldn't put any of them through this! and have already started to make arrangements so it won't happen and I told them I don't want them to feel guilty about it either.
Helpful Answer (16)
Report

I can't answer your question of "why" but I can definitely concur with the perception that children are "supposed" to care for their parents. I'm reminded of a conversation I had years ago while getting a haircut. I distinctly remember getting the proverbial look of disdain when I announced, in my mid 20's that I did NOT want children. The reaction: "Who's going to take care of you when you get old?" I was flabbergasted! Maybe it was my years of already having to care for a narcissistic legally blind father since the age of six that infuriated me, but I remember finding it odd that it was the ASSUMPTION that that's what children were for.

I remember responding "Whomever I decide to pay..."

Maybe it's a cultural thing. I do know that some cultures would find it utterly repulsive to place an aging parent in a facility, but I don't think children should be charged with the responsibility of caring for an aging parent or made to feel guilty if they struggle with WANTING to if the situation arises.

I feel a soapbox coming, but it's not fair to assume that the kids SHOULD or WILL care for aging parents. It should be a choice rather than a demand.
Helpful Answer (15)
Report

I thought about what Jeanne wrote and she is right. I know a lot of older people and most of them live independently or in assisted living. Many still drive, even though some of them maybe shouldn't. I know only a few who are staying home with a caregiver except for spouses, where one is caring for the other. Sometimes I do run into another caregiver at the grocery store. We know each other by the contents of our carts. :)

So much of how we feel depends on our own experiences. Some of us here had the misfortune of being the children of people who feel entitled. It can cause deep resentment, because we are people and not objects to be used.
Helpful Answer (14)
Report

I guess my experience was different. I was raised being told the reason my mom had me was to have someone to take care of her in her old age. It was supposed to be my responsibility since she had taken care of her mom for 13years. From when i was in kindergarten until after my freshman year at college. She was never there for me growing up but as an only child i, my children and grandchildren are supposed to make whatever sacrifices are necessary for her comfort and support. She has some money in the bank,not a lot but is holding on with an iron hand for her "old age". My husband and I are 61, I have spent some of my savings getting her what she needs. By the way the womanis 97. I think her old age has arrived. I have slept on hospital room floors in a sleeping bag when she had heart surgery 13years ago and put the 9year old grandson in daycare for one year so I could go take care of her but I only hear how I dont love her or do enough. She was active in the church when i was a child and i have heard how lucky i am she is my mother...if they only knew.
Helpful Answer (12)
Report

wamnanealz, you won't get any flack here for your compassion and love for your family. I think that mutual respect is what makes the difference in families. The caregivers who are not being respected by parents and siblings seem to have the hardest time. You seem to have that respect within your family.
Helpful Answer (10)
Report

See All Answers
This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.