POLL: Do you expect your children to be your caregiver in old age?

posted 10 months ago in Home
  • poll: Do you expect your children to be your sole caregiver(s) in your old age?
    Yes, I want to live with my children when I get older : (3 votes)
    2 %
    Yes, but I still want to live alone at my own home : (15 votes)
    9 %
    No, but I expect them to do some (~25%) of the care : (43 votes)
    27 %
    No, not at all : (98 votes)
    62 %
  • Post # 31
    759 posts
    Busy bee

    In Canada we currently have a 1-3+ year waiting list in many provinces to get into nursing homes, and a 6 month wait list for home care nurses (but these nurses only come two or three times per week to each home). I would call it a crisis. 

    Our issue here is that most elderly individuals are perfectly fine living alone, until one day they suddenly aren’t. You can’t get on a wait list for the nursing homes until you actually need one, and currently in Ontario our “critical list” for emergent patients that need homes asap is a year long. Once you get on the waitlist you are essentially at the mercy of the government, because you have little to no say as to which home you go in to. Whichever home has a bed open first is the home you’ll go to, and if you say no, you forfeit your place on the list. Many individuals end up separated from their spouses and placed far from their families. It is tragic.

    So let’s face the music; if I was stuck in the waiting period through no fault of my own, Yes, I would certainly hope my children would help me, because I see the elderly left alone with zero care all of the time here, and it is frightening. Now you could hire a caregiver on your own dime, but this is often just a random person you’re paying to feed you and so the basics, as our on site nurses will have you on a waitlist regardless of if you have the money or not. There just isn’t enough care here. I feel that many adult children here are forced into caring for their elderly parents, at a minimum for the 1-3 year gap in care, and those without anyone to care for them suffer immensely from neglect. 

    So yup, sadly I think my children won’t have much choice in the matter if our government can’t get their shit together.

    Post # 32
    825 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: November 2019

    I am the the primary caregiver for my grandmother who is 93. I lived with her for 5 years and her medical care became too much for me to handle on my own because I work full time. We moved her into an assistant living last year and while she was willing to move (she didn’t want to be a “burden” & insistant that I have my “own” life ((she is NEVER a burden & she is a daily part of my life))) she HATED living there. There was alot that factor into that, selling her house, she’s deaf, and her health was in terrible condition at the time, but in general the facility was not a good fit. While I’ve been very lucky to have bosses that understand, my SO & his family, as well as my dad (she is his mother but lives in Texas, we are in New Jersey) it’s alot and I imagine it’s very similar to having children, she is factored into everything I do. I try my best to balance but I wouldn’t haven’t any other way, she’s my grandma & she won’t be here forever.

    She is currently in a nursing facility and while it isn’t what I wanted for her, she is doing so so so well and honestly, her health issues are far better managed than I ever did or could hae done on my own. We have been so lucky or blessed (whatever you want to call it) with caregivers that recognize Grandma’s ability & willingness to do for herself, without that help she probably wouldn’t be here today. While I know she is getting the care she needs, there will always be a pain in my side that I couldn’t keep her in her home, it’s just something you never feel great about. But at home she was alone most of the day and literally couldnt get in & out her house (stairs have been an issue). Now she has friends who care about one another and plays bingo all the time (her favorite thing in the whole world) and in alot of ways I get to just be her granddaughter again and that has been great for our relationship.    

    Naturally, I think about caring for my folks and maybe one day having my kids care for me and as of right now I plan on moving into an assistant living when the time is right so I don’t burden my children. I think family should help as best they can and hopefully be involved as much as possible but I am not looking to have my kids wipe my wrinkly old butt but I guess Grandma didn’t think she have that happen either. I also would recommend long-term care insurance (different than health insurance) if you can afford it. People just don’t save money like my grandparents did & we are living longer so assistant living and nursing facilites will become much more normal. 

    I think the best thing any aging parent could do and this is ideal not always possible/attainable, is have their paperwork in order (wills, insurance, & DNRs are so important!), purge your physical belongs (I know having my dad & I throw out all of Grandma’s things was hard on her, but we didn’t have a choice so do it yourself, if possible!), and knowing your capabilites while accepting help gracefully. I know there is always exceptions to the rules when it comes to dementia or alzheimeror and getting old is so much harder on the aging person than the caregiver but it takes two to make the situation better for everyone. 

    So for myself I said “No, but I expect them to do some (~25%) of the care” because I am hopeful that I can maintain a healthly and loving relationship with my family so they want to be around when I need the help 🙂 

    Post # 33
    9245 posts
    Buzzing Beekeeper
    • Wedding: August 2012

    This was definitely not a reason for us having kids. I would never expect my children to be my caregiver, or to live with them when I got old.

    I do however hope that we will have a close enough relationship as adults that they will want to come and visit with me, and not find it to be a chore.

    Post # 34
    2511 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: December 2009

    I don’t have kids, so this doesn’t apply to me, but this subject has weighed heavily on my mind the last few months.  Darling Husband and I can’t have children.  And for the moment, we have decided to not pursue adoption.  That may change several years down the road, but for now, we do not plan on it.  

    If we had been able to have children, never in a million years would I have ever planned on them being our caregivers.  No way.  DH’s mom has tried pulling the “my children are my retirement card” and just no!  But…I do get sad (really sad actually) when I think how different my life will be when we’re old and we have no one.  No kids, no grandkids, nada.  I hate to admit it, but that breaks my heart.  I see how much joy being a grandparent is for my parents.  We are VERY close to our nieces and nephews, but they’ll grow up and have their own lives and will travel to see their own parents.  Currently, my whole family lives in the same small town, but who knows if it will stay that way.  

    Darling Husband and I have already talked and when our parents pass (hopefully it’s many decades down the road.  Our parents had us young), then we’ll leave where we live now.  But I refuse to move far away from our parents right now.  I’ve kind of made myself my parents future caregivers.  My siblings are wonderful people, but they all have kids and their lives revolve around their own families (rightfully so).  So, I worry about my parents.  They have always been extremely independent and self reliant people, but I know there are certain parts about getting older that has been a hard adjustment for them.  And I just want to make sure we’re around to take care of the things they can no longer do…shovel their snowy driveways, move furniture, do the heavy grunt work when they can no longer do it, keep them company, etc.

    Post # 35
    2761 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: July 2011

    I don’t expect my kids to look after me at all. In fact I was saying to hubby that I’d like to live in a retirement flat with a warden when I’m older. Somewhere I don’t have to cook if I don’t want and I’d have a cleaner lol. Particularly if he goes first I’d want to be in some kind of community. 

    That said, we’re looking at our forever home at the moment and we want space to be able to create a Grannie annex if needed for our parents. We know what if any of our parents do need help it will be us doing it.

    Post # 36
    842 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: May 2019

    Echoing most people above, I don’t plan on having kids with the intention that they’ll take care of me when I’m older. I know the stress it can put on people and wouldn’t want to inflict that upon my children. Now, I would love if they’d still visit often, but I don’t expect it, per say. Honestly this thought never even crossed my mind as a reason I’d want kids – I agree it’s a pretty selfish reason for having kids if one of your first reasons for doing so is so they’ll take care of you when you’re older.

    Post # 37
    4470 posts
    Honey bee
    • Wedding: September 2012

    I don’t have kids yet (and might not), but if I do, I would not expect them to financially support me, become my primary caregivers, or have me live with them.

    Obvisouly, ideally, I would be able to live independently until my time comes. However, should that not happen, some burden might fall on my children, but more in the terms of helping me find appropriate care or the right nursing home and possibly legal things like POA if I’m no longer capable of acting in my own best interest.

    My mom and her sisters are deadling with that right now with my grandmother, and while it is stressful, it’s not the extent that actual physical caregiving is and my grandmother is financially secure, so there’s no monetary issues.

    Post # 38
    680 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: February 2020

    This thought makes me cringe so hard. Children don’t choose to come into this world, and we shouldn’t take care of them and love them with the thought that one day they’ll have to return the favor. I would never in a million years demand my future children care for me. I will be their parent. That role doesn’t get reversed with my old age.

    Post # 39
    1120 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: September 2017

    Children shouldn’t be born into this world with a job. Period. End of story.

    Post # 40
    7278 posts
    Busy Beekeeper

    happiekrappie :  I expect my child(ren) will help take care of me in that they’ll come check up on me and make sure I have what I need, coordinate care, help manage finances if I can’t, etc. I do not want to live with them and I do not expect them to provide any type of nursing care though. Just make sure the nurse knows when to come and that’s she’s been paid, but leave her to make sure I take my meds and help me go to the bathroom. 

    Post # 41
    8999 posts
    Buzzing Beekeeper

    macpartyoftwo :  Same thing here in Australia with the added burden that bonds for a lot of nursing homes can be as much as $250k (the bond is usually waived for high care places but not for general care). When my last remaining grandparent went into a nursing home (she developed dementia) her kids had to sell her home in order to afford it (which was hard to do because they first had to get her declared not capable of making her own decisions) and then wait for a space to open (which took nearly a year). During that time my mother and my Aunt took turns in looking after her. If my grandmother didn’t have a house then the burden would have fallen on her kids to either fund it or look after her at their home. 

    Whilst at unversity studying nursing my sister worked at the government funded assisted living facility which was filled with homeless and low socio-economic people. And I can tell you I wouldn’t want to see even a person I despise end up in a place like that. The place was run on shoestring and only staffed on the basic legal requirements.

    A lot of times whilst parents don’t expect their kids to look after them, the actual reality is that they do have to become their parents caregivers. 

    Post # 42
    345 posts
    Helper bee

    My mother never physically did the care for my grandfather (who was fully paralyzed – including unable to speak or swallow – for the three years leading up to his death) but did all the managing. She coordinated a complex nursing schedule, spent every day 8-5 with him and my grandmother. Made sure there was always food. And so on.

    We lived with them for several months during the process as well.

    My grandmother is currently still living independently though she cannot drive, pay her bills, or see very well at this point. We’ve encouraged her to move to a smaller house closer to us (she’s about a 10 minute drive, which isn’t bad, but we found her something only a block away!) so she doesn’t have to go up and down stairs and so we can get there quicker if she needs something – but she won’t move. 

    The short version is…I think that helping out is good…I don’t think you should expect your children to 100% care for you in your old age. A drive to a doctor’s appointment or helping with groceries is one thing, caring for you physically is entirely another. 

    Post # 43
    2022 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: April 2018


    I can’t stand it when people say they want kids so someone will take care of them when they are old. That’s not why you have kids. Save for your older years so you will take care of yourself. 

    Post # 44
    9573 posts
    Buzzing Beekeeper
    • Wedding: City, State

    I hope they don’t abandon me. But if I’m bad enough off I can’t care for myself i’ll probably just kill myself Thelma and Louise style.

    Post # 45
    705 posts
    Busy bee

    I’m not expecting my kids to care for me, but I do hope they’ll still be a big part of my life. 

    Despite being continents away, my parents and in laws have always been there for us in our times of need. When we lost our son to a stillbirth, when I developed complications in my pregnancy with my daughter, when my daughter was a newborn- they hopped on a plane and were by our side…I hope we’ll be able to do the same for them in their time of need. Having my mom help out when my daughter was born was just the biggest blessing, and I hope to be able to do that for my daughter someday, if she chooses to have kids.

    Social and family bonds go a long way in our overall well being and in preserving our mental health, especially in old age. 

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