The Life Transition Blog

Should Adult Children Be Paid To Care For Aging Parents?

This is the title for a very interesting blog post on the New York Times' "New Old Age Blog". Take a look at the posting. While the post itself is interesting, and covers the concept of care contracts for family caregivers, I find the discussion prompted by this post to be incredibly interesting. The points-of-view expressed make clear what an emotional and difficult issue we face as individuals and as a society. As with so many things, there is no "one right answer" for every family and every situation.

It is true that we place value as a society on the commandment to "honor your parents", but there are many ways to fufill this goal. Are we honoring our parents if we quit our jobs to care for them and by doing so, make it impossible to properly care for ourselves and our own children? You'll likely answer this question differently than I will, since we come from various faith traditions and family circumstances.

So, instead of pretending that there is "one way", why don't we acknowledge that therer are many ways, all equally valid, and work to support the way chosen by an individual family? If we can agree to that, we can focus our attention on putting the resources in place to support every one of the "ways".

As a family transition coach who works with baby boomers and their aging parents, I can assure you that some situations absolutely call for care contracts for family caregivers, while other situations do not. Let's not create a stigma or guilt for the caregiver who feels they need to implement such a contract. Instead, let's applaud him or her for rising to the challenge, and do everything in our power to make that journey meaningflul and as stress-free as practical.
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