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Aged parents: Whose responsibility?

Where are the days when elderly parents would live with their children and they are looked after till when death come calling? Many adults now…

Where are the days when elderly parents would live with their children and they are looked after till when death come calling? Many adults now neglect their responsibilities and prefer to send their aged parents to nursing homes and only visit them occasionally. And the question that keeps propping up is, is this the way to repay our parents who have worked so hard and sacrificed so much for our well being and happiness for us to become what we are today? Is this really being fair to them?

As people get older, sometimes taking care of them becomes harder due to their increasing demands. However, raising a child is the same way as well. As the child gets older, his/her demands increase, often burdening some parents. Families take care of each other despite the hardships and difficulties and often times those hardships and difficulties strengthen the family bond.

Our parents cared for us and now that they are aged, all we can think of is how to put them at the mercy of others so that they can in no way come in between us and our work. Yes, work is the main reason many people give for not being able to be there to give the love and care our aged parents deserve.

But ask yourself this question sincerely. Would you like your children to send you to an old people’s home or in a nursing home after all you are doing to make life meaningful to them? By the way, where in our culture that we relegate the duties we owe our parents to a boarding home for the old? Many if not all of us will objectively say no because we are hoping that our children will put up with us and take care us just as we did to them. Do we ever think that putting them in these homes is just like abandoning them and only waiting for them to die?

“ I would always do what I feel is in their best interest and give them priority over myself. It does not mean they have to be at home with me but as long as it is the best thing for them, I will do it. My parents placed my well being over theirs and so I will do the same for them, the old people’s home will be the last place I will take them to, instead I will hire an experienced hand to stay with them at home if I have to be at work” says Rukayya Aliyu a pediatrician.

“There are countries where old people’s home work and not in a country like ours and in those countries, these homes are meant for people that do not have families but in our case they feel old people’s homes are for aged parents that they feel are a burden to them and hindering them from their pursuit of the vanities of life. In my culture you will be cursed for even thinking of putting your aged parents in an old people’s home because that could even result in their eventual death. For heaven’s sake they are our parents and deserve all we can offer them before death comes knocking at the door” says Tunji Adebowale, an accountant.

In the opinion of Kelechi Obianuju, a businessman, “Some old people’s home are not bad in my opinion, because you have people taking care of your parents while you are at work. Or better still, you can put them in assisted living. Then on weekends, you can either visit them, or have them move to your place. Still, if I had a lot of money and my parents were still around, I would just hire a home aide care to monitor them while I am at work that would be better than putting them in an old people’s home where you rob them of everything life has to offer”.

Loss of independence is one of the greatest pains aged parents feel when they are moved to an old people’s home. Losing independence in favor of dependence on the staff of the homes often and will always give them the feeling that life is just but over as they lose their self esteem and feel that they are no more worthy as even their kids cannot stand them but had to send them to the home. Their independence is completely ruined as most activities in the nursing home are done according to a schedule or depend on the availability of staff.

Though not everyone agrees that a nursing home for the aged is a bad idea as it is argued that once they are there you feel doubly safe because of the professionals present at all time and always ready to serve the need of the residents there.  But on the other hand, asides being expensive, it might be seen as abandonment and betrayal by your aged parents. A caregiver for your parents to ensure that all their needs are fully met at whatever time of the day could go a long way but then some might just be something else when you are not around your aged parents. So you see each situation has its pros and cons but then the decision is up to you as our parents deserve the best we can give them especially in their last years on earth. They have been there for us all through our growing years, so it is the responsibility of every child to return that very love and care they received.

Have we ever wondered where many of us would have been if our parents had put us in foster homes while they pursued their careers? Just a thought!

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