What About Our Aging Parents?

There is a frightening trend that I've noticed of late, maybe it's something you've noticed too. What I'm beginning to see is that the majority of the under fifty generation, seem to be disconnected from their aging parents. I don't know if this is considered the "me generation", but that appears to be the trend, me first, "you" (aging parent) later or when I have time. I have also seen that my generation, the over fifty and under seventy appear to be the last generation that take personal interest in, and care of their aging parents. Some of us don't need a lot of personal help and time from our children at this stage of the game. However, from what I see we are to be most pitied when we do.

What I've Seen

I've seen friends and relatives of my generation extend personal care to their agingĀ parents. My mother lives over two thousand miles away, however we speak on an average of four times a week. Some weeks it's everyday, especially when I feel she is not at her best. When she is really ill I will fly to her side in a heartbeat. Fortunately that isn't very often, however I try to visit her at least twice a year, even Though this is a financial hardship for me. But I reason that she is the only real mother that I will ever have. This is not to pat myself on the back, for this is just what I should be doing. I watch one of my barely ambulatory friends spend the better part of her life taking care of her aging mother, who lives over thirty miles from her. She will drop everything and "hobble" to her mother's side, even though she has relatives better able to take care of her. She divides her time between her home and her mother's home, but she feels that her mother is her responsibility and she takes that very seriously. I applaud her for that.

My Mantra

My mantra to friends of my generation is "don't think that what you are giving out you will get back in kind, don't think that your adult children will do the same for you."

I am not saying that it will be the case for all of us, but be prepared for whatever happens. If your children do take up the baton and run with it, it will be a pleasant surprise, however, if they don't you won't be disappointed. I've been suggesting to my friends, and implementing this myself, that we make a life for ourselves apart from our children. What we (a lot of us are single, either through death of a spouse or divorce), are doing is beginning to group or partner with one or more for fun and support. It has been suggested that all adults, especially those of us that are single, have an advocate. particular for medical reasons. Take them with you when you go to the doctor, even if you are married, the advocate should be someone other than your spouse. The reason given is that sometimes your spouse is so use to hearing your complaints that they turn a deaf ear and won't really hear when you have a legitimate complaint.

Back to what my friends and I are doing. By the way we are all women, (this also can work for men). We have what I term "Old Girl Pajama Parties", movie nights at home,tea parties,we attend theatrical plays, the movies, lunch, dinner etc. Sometimes we just sit around and talk, which is very pleasant, because we all have similar interest. We live in Southern California, so the outside activities are numerous also, however where ever you live, you can make up your own fun. This is a wonderful time in our lives, and we don't want to miss a minute of it, sitting around complaining about what others are not doing for us. So as we are aging, we can make the best of it.

Make no mistake we have born and raised some beautiful and wonderful children. But the system that we are living in dictates something different for our young people. Life seems to be demanding that we keep a pace that is nearly impossible, and still care for our loved ones. In most cases the loved ones are the children of our children. Don't get me wrong, that's not a bad thing, I applaud young parents that put the interest of their children first. However, it would be a good thing if they could learn how to multi-task. I'd like to add here that there are exceptions to this rule, some young people are still connected to their roots, and they appreciate from whence they came,(I have some in my family).

Back to the issue at hand, to the young among us, this will be you one day. Slow down, 'smell the roses,' and spend some time with your aging parents. Think, one day you could be sitting around bemoaning the fact that your children are not there for you. I am remembering a wonderful song of, maybe, the 80's, "The cat's In the cradle,and the silver spoon", by Harry Chapin. If you don't know the words, Google it and see what I mean, very sad song, one we don't want to live either on the front side or the back side. Meaning we don't want to look back and regret that we didn't spend time with our children or parents. This is also good advice for those of us who are aging. So may we, young, and aging take these words to heart and remember who we are, where we are, and where we will be.

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Comments 28 comments

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mryals 7 years ago

Some people are too selfish to notice when their parents need them. The older generation is very proud. So a lot of them could be suffering in silent because they dont want to ask for help. As a granddaughter of an 80 something grandmother, she is so strong that sometimes she refuses my help but I know she needs it and dont let that drive me away. Also my 50 something mother is the same way. I am blessed to have a special connection w/ both my granny and my mother, I know when they need help w/ out them even saying a word. I know when they just want to spend some time w/ out them asking me to come over, I just drop by and surpise them.

MegB 7 years ago

Keep up the great writing! This is a wonderful outlet and I am so impressed :)

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fannywho2 7 years ago

I really like your style of writing it is very amusing and insightful. So keep them coming.

ashleyr24 7 years ago

As my parents get older I find myself worrying about each one often. Especially my dad since he is alone, almost 3,000 miles away and is now in his late 60's. I know that's not really considered that old now-a-days, but anything can happen since he is by himself. Thanks for the good advice from this HUB, always helpful and appreciated.

fastfreta profile image

fastfreta 7 years ago from Southern California Author

Thanks ashleyr, for your comment, and by all means continue to show concern for your older parents, I'm sure they appreciate it.

Monawrites profile image

Monawrites 7 years ago from Surry, Maine

I think that you are just brilliant and that you have a wonderful attitude about it all. This helps me a great deal. I am 54 years old, my husband is about to turn 61, we raised five children, a son and 4 daughters, our son isn't married, he lives with his father from another marriage of mine and doesn't speak to me. My daughter from that marriage, didn't even call me when her first child was born! I loved and raised these kids with all my heart and everything that I had. They ALL saw me care for my parents who are both gone now, and I have MS and they not only don't contact me to see how I am, they NEVER, EVER ask me how I am when they do see me. Yet they never hesitate to hit me up for $ as though I owed it to them; I don't give it to them anymore. My second oldest daughter is a drug addict, now 'in' AA for a few weeks, again. She has a 4 year old son who we are raising because he was brain damaged from her meth abuse, and he needs a LOT of special care which we don't mind finding for him and making sure he gets, yet she treats us with open hostility, when she lived with us she had to leave because she was actually PHYSICALLY abusive of me. We have been dealing with her addiction, rehabs etc...for over ten years now and we are TIRED of it!A friend of ours in AA told us that she may be in AA but that AA isn't IN her! Our second oldest, she lives in CA (we live in Maine) and is in Law School, my husband just saw her and said that her apt is nicer than any house we have ever lived in. Somehow she always manages to get the best for herself, key being HERSELF! She NEVER comes to us for holidays, hasn't even seen any of her neices or nephews, or siblings, but contacts them regularly-instead of calling her parents....

Our oldest daughter, she is the only one who really shows that she cares, she is always asking me if I am okay and asking me to watch out for myself, she had me in the delivery room with her when her daughter was born, OH she is wonderful! Her siblings chide her and call her a Mama's girl, and give her garbage about it until she is in tears. I don't understand it, who the hell do they think that they are? Neither my husband or I are like that, my ex is, and husband's first wife is a problem always was, (shehas a drinking prblem, yet gets a lot of attention from the daughter who she didn't care about at all when the daughter was small, I raised her, not her mother!) but WE raised those kids, we sacrificed, put them through school etc...and we are getting the tough end of the deal. I just DON'T understand, they are the least forgiving, understanding or nice people I know, they NEVER say thank you. In fact the two youngest and second oldest question our raising and hard work with our grandson. They say that we are trumping things up so we can just keep him away, stuff like that and his doctor said to tell them to call him so he can confirm the diagnosis and treatment, and report that it's not trumped up! Which they don't care to do!! There's nothing I'd rather do than have a safe place to give him back to. I'm sick with MS, but I LOVE this child with all my heart, why are my children so mean??

fastfreta profile image

fastfreta 7 years ago from Southern California Author

Dear Monawrites, what an unbelievable story, you could write a book. You're probably like a lot of us, don't know the meaning of the word no. Well, my story is no where near as tragic as yours. As a matter of fact to date I have wonderful children. However, I have learned the word no, and because of that my children respect my time and space more, although I don't have to say no often, because I'm not asked often. One thing I have discovered is that life is too short to give away what little time I have left, to ungrateful people, no matter who they are.

So from my mouth to your ears. Stop looking back and use this time in your life to live no longer for people that care nothing for you, display little affection for you, and focus this time on yours and your husband's happiness.

Bail Up ! profile image

Bail Up ! 7 years ago

Another great hub. Fortunately for me, mine is a close family. I've always tried to do right by my parents because when they are gone I don't want to have to think along the lines - I should of done this, should of done that. I'll be saying I did everything I could:) thanks for the hub, very well said.

fastfreta profile image

fastfreta 7 years ago from Southern California Author

Thank you Bail Up! I hope your parents know that they are very fortunate, not many these days can say that. Thanks for your comments.

DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

DeBorrah K. Ogans 7 years ago


Thank you this is a great hub! You have shared some helpful information! Those who recieve it will be helped?

It is important that you do all you can for your aging parents while they are still here. It can be as simple as giving them a call. When they pass on your happy memories will always be with you., and you will be at peace knowing that you were there for them.

I invite you to visit my hub: Caring For Mom


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create a page 7 years ago from Maryland, USA

Another great hub fastfreta. I really liked what you said about meeting with friends. I wish I had a group like that in my area. I am on the east coast, and most of the people I associate with are in their twenties or thirties (more like my children's age group). Their interests are usually a little different form mine. Maybe I should move to southern California. Don't you think?

There were so many great things about your hub.

You shared great words of wisdom with Monawrites.

fastfreta profile image

fastfreta 7 years ago from Southern California Author

Thank you DeBorrah and create a page for your comments. Yes Deborrah I agree about doing for them while they are still alive. I will go over and read your hub.

Yes create a page, come on over and contact me when you get here, we have room for you in our group.(smile).

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create a page 7 years ago from Maryland, USA

Thanks for the invitation fastfreta. I have a brother and a sister who live in California. They have been trying to get me to come for years. Hopefully one day I'll get a chance to visit, and then I can visit with your group too. (smile)

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fastfreta 7 years ago from Southern California Author

Thanks create a page for visiting, and I hope to see you one day.

habee profile image

habee 7 years ago from Georgia

I hope my kids are as good to me as I was to my mom! Maybe I shouldn't hold my breath?? Great hub, HH.

fastfreta profile image

fastfreta 7 years ago from Southern California Author

Habee, I feel the same way, however I won't hold my breath, because after all they are a product of this system and they are not entirely to blame. Thanks for reading my hub. Come back again.

Art 4 Life profile image

Art 4 Life 6 years ago from in the middle of nowhere....

I loved it, wonderful hub... And, I love the idea of Older girls pajama parties...you sound like such a fun person, I wish you lived in Arkansas...what you said in your hub is true...it seems the younger generation has no regard anymore...but hopefully, as they get older, and find Christ, this will change...we can only pray...hugs to you fastfreta!

fastfreta profile image

fastfreta 6 years ago from Southern California Author

Thank you so much Art 4 Life for stopping and reading. I am so enjoying your hubs, I'll certainly be back to take up where I left off.

Sassypoetic profile image

Sassypoetic 6 years ago from Katy,Texas

I really enjoyed your article. My mother turned 86 in April, though she move around pretty quickly I cherish every moment whenever I fly into Chicago... You are so right... We should feel a deep sense of indeptedness to our parents... Though we cannot give them life as they gave it to us, we can contribute to them something that makes life worth living. We can contribute to their joy and their feeling of deep satisfaction. We can do that in a special way that possibly no other persons can, we are their children....

fastfreta profile image

fastfreta 6 years ago from Southern California Author

Thanks Sassypoetic for weighing in on my hub. You said some things I wish I'd said. Thanks for stopping, please stop again soon.

Sinea Pies profile image

Sinea Pies 5 years ago from Northeastern United States

Fastfreda, you spoke my heart. What is so stressful is being an adult of an aging parent who needs my company and I have to work 2 jobs! We are all trying to be sure he is cared for but have not been able to give nearly as much as we want to.

fastfreta profile image

fastfreta 5 years ago from Southern California Author

So sorry Sinea Pies to hear about your situation, but I can somewhat sympathize, that's all I can say, (smile). Anyway, from what you're saying you seem to be giving all you've got, I'm sure he appreciates it, or at least I hope he does. So keep up the good work, and thanks for stopping.

Tiffany Latte profile image

Tiffany Latte 5 years ago from USA

This is a wonderful topic, I am glad you brought it up. Taking care of aging parents without making them feel helpless is a difficult call. With this discussion many people will find positive ways to deal with this issue.

fastfreta profile image

fastfreta 5 years ago from Southern California Author

Thank you Tiffany Latte for the validation of this hub. Unfortunately this is a growing problem. Your point is well taken, and I do agree, because when they are mentally alert, and not so physically, they don't always want you to do everything for them. Believe me I know that from experience.

jeyaramd profile image

jeyaramd 5 years ago from Mississauga, Ontario

That was a well written hub. I completely agree that as parents we should not always expect our children to take care of us. Its best that we should plan our own retirement. Its hard to do that unless we start investing early in our own life. Children are great, but its unhealthy to neglect ourselves.

It was only in her late years that my mother started to develop her own interests. She was a lot more happier and she always had a new story to share with us. It was nice to exchange ideas and share experiences. Its not healthy to adopt the attitude that your story is my story. Its great when we are nurturing our children as parents to share in the joy of a child's first milestone.

However, when our children become adults living their own life; it seems counter productive to share the same shoes so to speak. A this point, its important for us to have our own experiences. We should set real examples for our children of how they should enjoy life. We all have a song to sing. Its about time we start living it. Great hub Fastfreta. I enjoyed it immensely.

fastfreta profile image

fastfreta 5 years ago from Southern California Author

Thank you so much jeyaramd for your comments, which I agree wholeheartedly. Your mother sounds like me, I too have learned to live for myself, and I'm fully enjoying it. Again thank you very much for stopping and leaving that beautiful comment, hope to see you again soon.

sid 2 years ago

thank you for sharing such a beautiful topic.


fastfreta profile image

fastfreta 2 years ago from Southern California Author

Thanks sid for stopping and taking time to read and leave a comment.

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