CARING FOR AGING PARENTS
The focus of this Broadly Experience episode is “Working Daughters and Parent-Care” but the tough subject applies equally to sons and anyone else who is caring for a sick family member.
Aging is inevitable, disease likely and at some point we might have to parent our parents. While the following adage is philosophically true, “caring for those who’ve cared for us is one of the highest honors,” it is also highly incompatible with modern, North American life. What if you don’t like your parents at all? Then this is an even more potent divide and painful conundrum.
How do you manage a career, kids and an ailing parent, or two, at once? Unlike a maternity leave where there is excitement and typically a celebratory shower, not to mention familiar words of encouragement as you “go back” to work, such built-in norms of support don’t exist for the “invisible elders” and the adult children left to provide for them largely on their own.
This is a greater systemic tragedy in the U.S. as workplace and culture just aren't designed to manage and care for our community as a whole, from the beginning of life to the end. My heart goes out to anyone caring for a failing parent; I trust the poignant POVs shared in this episode might resonate and offer hope.