Are you morally responsible to care for an aging parent in your home?

United States
December 26, 2006 9:53pm CST
My mother suffered a brain injury 2 years ago. She was in a nursing home that could care for her, but she was very depressed there. She had psychotic episodes and it was a bad situation. I struggled with the decision to care for her at home with us. I have 3 small boys and it was a bit much. I did it for 1 year and then it just became too much. Luckily another family member was able to care for her. What if there hadn't been? Would I be wrong to put her back in a nursing home that could care for her even if that meant she was miserable?
8 people like this
60 responses
@re08dz (1941)
• Australia
27 Dec 06
I wouldn't say you have to do it. Every situation is going to be different and we also have to take into account that as harsh at it may seem we still have our own lives to live, and other family members to care for. In some cases perhaps in-home care (a round the clock nurse etc) can be arranged depending on the needs of the patient. Often times as much as we want to help care for our parents or other elderly relatives we just don't have the expertise to do so. It's a tough decision whichever way you go, and in the case you described above, I don't think you would be wrong though I can understand how bad you would feel about it.
@pisces24 (147)
• Philippines
27 Dec 06
I totally agree with you. In our country where extended families living in one house is a common thing, we care for our parents until they pass away. It could be very hard at times specially if you have your own family to care for, that is why it is the son or daughter who doesn't have to work that usually cares for the parents, especially if they are sick.
@Lunnazol (296)
• United States
27 Dec 06
I do think it's an obligation. At least in my case it would be. I am an only child so that would become my sole responsibility. God forbid if that would happen one day, i just wish I have the money to get a private nurse or something, I would hate to have to put my mother in a home. However, if she needed special care 24 7 and I just couldn't take care of her and I couldn't afford a private nurse, then I would have to consider a home, but I would visit her every day.
3 people like this
• Pakistan
27 Dec 06
ofcourse it is! 1 can never repay their debt at least here in the east we think so... although its hard to bear them when they get old but thats the real test and remember what goes round comes round u treat them well today ull be treated well tomorrow hopefully :)
1 person likes this
@GardenGerty (96657)
• Marion, Kansas
27 Dec 06
You did a good thing. I think you would have shopped around for a different nursing home, and talked with her doctor about her depression and psychotic episodes, if you had had to continue being responsible. Is your mother still alive?
• United States
27 Dec 06
Yes, she is still around, but everyday I face the very real possibility that this may come back on me in the near future. I honestly don't think I can do it again. I have a family to raise and she is very difficult. Very much like another child who is 200 lbs, needs bathroom assistance and has a host of other concerns. I just don't think I have it in me. I am scared at what my choices will me. I was miserable with the nursing choices and feel guilt.
2 people like this
@ralevi (1887)
• United States
27 Dec 06
Come on she is your mother what you will say Thanks mother for the kids years but now you need to go in other home? what? that is stupid she is from your family she is your mother what you just will leave hear to other family`s? that is very stupid because he is just your mother I think you can't do that it`s not right for me.
2 people like this
@Bee1955 (3887)
• United States
27 Dec 06
Thank goodness another family member had the time and strength to be able to care for her mother when she couldnt. The "obligation" here is to do whats best for her mother when clearly she couldnt with 3 energetic young boys in tow. Ever try to keep 3 youngsters quiet in a house where an invalid lives? I think she was doing the best thing for her mother.
@emeraldisle (13146)
• United States
27 Dec 06
As much as we'd like to be able to take care of aging family members it isn't always feasible. I've worked with people with brian injuries so I know how much work can be involved. Even without the added burden of your current family trying to handle her would not be easy. Depending on how severe the injury is it could be like having a toddler, one that is full size. I don't think some of the posters realize just how hard it is to try and deal with a toddler that is the size of an adult. It can be even more frustrating when it's a family member. You know they know better then to do some things but due to the injury they can't process that anymore. That added with 3 small boys makes it very difficult to handle. If it appears that she will be coming back to you I think you need to sit down and look everything over. If she needs one on one care you need to determine if you can do it, if just getting a nurse in is possible, or if it would be a situation where you'd be in over your head. If you need to put her back into a home there are many good ones out there. You may need to shop around for the right one for your mother but it is possible. Make sure the place is well staffed, clean, and that you do visit her. It can make a difference.
@ajithlal (14568)
• India
27 Dec 06
"When a door close another door opens" God always open one door for us. I think most of us have to take care of our parents. When we were young when we did wrong or when we were sick our parents didnot leave us. So I believe we should also take care of our parents when they are old. Our children always follow what we do. Thank God that another family member take care of your mother. Well if you are not able to take care of your mother you can put her to nursing home for a week or two. But try not to put her for a longer period of time because she might feel down. Try to be with her as far as possible if you can. I remember the words of an wise person stating that when we should look after parents because oldage is the second form of youngage. In this stage most parents look for the love and care that the parents gave to us when we were children. Most times we forget to give the love and care we got when we were children. This is what makes the word father and mother precious as diamonds.
• India
27 Dec 06
Yes should be responsible!! They underwent so many pains right from the beginning from our birth!I dont understand how could people even ask such questions!
• United States
27 Dec 06
People ask such questions because that is what thinking people do. Question life, meaning, decisions. If you don't question life and decisions what's all this about?
• India
27 Dec 06
ofcourse,it would be wrong to put her back in the hospital .basically because she never thought of putting you away when you were sick.she took all the pains for your upbringing.how can you abandon her now?yeah,it is difficult,but maybe after a few years you can be and feel happy about the conscious choice you have made.and sure enough,it will set an example for your kids too -to help and care for the elderly at home.you can take the help of some of your friends too.all the best.
@babs6219 (153)
• United States
27 Dec 06
I believed for a long time that I should, and I did. In the long run, my dad would have been better off in the nursing home earlier than he went. It varies from family to family, since the circumstances effect what's best. What I asked myself was this "Would my dad, (when he was lucid and knew what was going on) have wanted to have me changing his diapers? Would he have wanted me and my daughter (I'm a single mom) to have to move, and her to change schools, when he can be in a center where he can be monitored? My dad wouldn't have. He was very modest and independent, and the nursing home gives him a tiny shred of independence. Good luck with your decision...you can always contact the local centers for the aged and disabled, they might be able to refer you to a better home.
• United States
27 Dec 06
That is the real question. You nailed it, when they were lucid who were they. Were they independent? Modest? Vain? My mom didn't want to be a bother to anyone. She didn't want to be assisted with wiping her butt. She would be appalled at her situation if she knew. Thank you for that!
• India
27 Dec 06
You said you have 3 small boys and it was a bit much. I don't know of what age are you. You can have a fourth one girl (Mother). You managed 3 boys, i think you can with the 4th child.
• United States
27 Dec 06
My boys are 13, 8, and 6. My 2 oldest are special needs kids and I homeschool them. I am doing everything I can. I chose not to have any more children so I could properly care for the children I have. It is much different caring for an elderly woman who has psychotic episodes. She requires 22 meds a day, insulin shots 4 times a for diabetes, nebulizer inhalants 4 times a day, she doesn't eat most foods, she walks around in the middle of the night, in fact she just broke her leg and wrist in the middle of night. She needs assistance toileting and has incontinence. She wants to be in the same room as me every minute of the day. Oh, did I mention that she is hard of hearing and gets upset when she can't hear the conversation in the room. What, huh is the common things she speaks. She also obsesses about everything like a 3 year old. It is physically, emotionally, and mentally draining. She chose to not take care of her body for many years and now I (who eat healthy,& exercise) must care for her choices. I am not angry or resentful, I am just a realist. When someone chooses to not watch their weight, monitor their diabetes, eat foods that will improve health, and take care of their bodies, the results are devestating. This is no accident that she is so ill, it was years of ignorance or not caring. I feel that we all make our bed, (even our dear parents) whom I love and cherish, they don't want to be treated like children by their grown children, so when you make your bed, you must lie in it sometimes. It may sound harsh, but that is really the way I feel. You really don't know what you'd do in this exact situation. I always said I'd care for my mom or dad. Well, I am only human. Just a word of advice, if you are in your 30's-50's or so and you don't currently take care of your body. ie...eat right, exercise, heed warnings from medical professionals, this may be you someday. Crying in your soup about your children who won't take care of you. If you are obese now, imagine all of your additional fat just hanging because you get no exercise and muscle tone is gone. The skin folds now get rashes and get infected. You can't physically care for yourself, so someone now has to lift your fat to clean you otherwise the stench is incredible. Not to mention, it makes it next to impossible to physically get around when your older and weaker. Sorry for being so graffic, but you need to get a visual on what being obese will look like in old age. And I am not talking about extreme obesity. My mom was 5'9 and 200 lbs. This is what her life is like now. Take heed of the warning.
@muralimn (535)
• United Arab Emirates
27 Dec 06
She is your mother so you should be with her at any cost. You should not dump her like this on the mercy of homes. just think this way, you too have children and tomorrow you are surely going to get old. What if they do the same to you? Can you bear this seperation from your children whom you love so dearly. This is what i feel. Please do take care of your mother because we have only one mother. She is very precious whatever her condition is.
27 Dec 06
I too am caring for a very much loved member of my family - my brother who is terminally ill. Rather than think of what I have had to give up in terms of my career, social life etc I thank God that I have been given this precious time to make his life as comfortable as possible. Take care of your Mother with a happy heart - it will be too late for regrets after she's gone.
@cdvassell (181)
• United States
28 Dec 06
To me it's an obligation. I know first hand what you are going through but you have to prepared to make sacrifices after all she is your mother and she too made sacrifices for you. But in everything there must be a solution. My recommendation is if you have siblings or other close family members- they could pitch in financially and get a private nurse to work part-time. Putting her in a nursing home should be a last resort- but if you have to do it- then make sure you visit her as much as possible. As the saying goes "Home is where the Heart is"
• United States
28 Dec 06
What would you want your children to do for you?...Answer that and you have your answer.
@nyka08 (411)
• Philippines
28 Dec 06
i think it wouldn't be best for your mom to put her in a nursing home if she would be miserable. in my opinion, i think taking care of her would be your only way of showing gratitude to everythning she has done for you. if you think about it, when you were young, she would have been the most patient person when she taught you to walk, to talk, to eat right..everything you need to prepare you to be an adult you are now. besides, just being with the ones she loves is already therapeutic for her..happiness relieves pain..as some have said.
• India
28 Dec 06
if u seek an advice than i would say it's totally u'r disccretion what to do and what nt to do........if u feel comfortable do it ..........or even u'r in pain u should do it as u'r mother also have suffered tolerating when u where child and young ....when u demanded and all that stuff .........after all she is u'r mother....anyway there is one more option if u can afford a sister at home ...bring a nurse home for caring ............and if not possible admit her to hospital but take care of her by going there everday and making her demands fulfill ......if u ask what about me than i will do best what ever i can do ....till last drop of my life.
@akotalagato (1335)
• Philippines
28 Dec 06
yes you are. it is your obligation to take care of your parents in their old age. they took care of you when you where little now is the time to repay them by taking care of them. but do not do it out of obligation. do it out of love for them.
@Aali311 (6127)
• United States
28 Dec 06
I would be able to care for my parent no matter how many children I have, I have two boys of my own and two step children, that's just the way life goes. I'm sure my mom would do anything for me, why can't I return the favor, instead of being selfish and thinking about myself and my life, if it were not for my parents I wouldn't have a life today.
@mikaghi (389)
• United States
28 Dec 06
just think, u are a child and suffer from a damaging injury. would ur mother put in some far away place in care of some total strangers..? would she think about right and wrong om keeping u with her..? do as she would have done.
@jossml (464)
• Puerto Rico
28 Dec 06
They take care of us, the less we can do is to care for them, it is dificult because we are making our opinins from this side, I don't know what is to feel like you right now but I can only say do what makes you feel happy and what you think is the right decision.
@Melizzy (1381)
• United States
28 Dec 06
Yes, you are. It may not be fair, but your parents took care of you. Maybe you weren't a planned child, but they didn't throw you out. I helped my mother care for my grandmother for three years. It wasn't easy, but they gave birth to you. They gave you life. And I think it's bad Karma to not care for them.