Help Aging Parents: What Comes Around, Goes Around

“Senior Helpers,” an in-home care provider, found that elderly moms prefer to live with their daughters over their sons.

Barron’s, “The Dow Jones Business and Financial Weekly,” features “Reviews & Previews”–a 2-page spread each week. The “Reviews” page features short business-oriented snip-its, so I was surprised to read the above, but not surprised by the above presented in a short column titled “The Numbers” (–probably included because Mother’s Day is this Sunday).  I share the rest with you.

70%: share of mothers with both sexes of children who prefer to live with their daughters.

94%: share of parents who want to live independently as they age

68%: share of mothers who say daughters will take better care of them as they age

80%: parents who say their children will care for them as well as they care for their parents.”

Do you find it surprising that elderly mothers would prefer to live with daughters rather than sons (who probably come with a wife aka “daughter-in-law”)? I don’t.  However, I’m fortunate to be married to an only child. His mother, R, is like a mother and she treats me like a daughter. (Click Sr. Advisors tab above if you’re new to this blog to meet this amazing 97-year-old.)

Yet–and this is not surprising either–98% of parents want to live independently as they age.  And this is true of R, who still lives in her home of 60+ years–actually is back, living independently in her home without help, after breaking her hip in late September and making an impressive recovery. (Her recovery is the subject of a January 25, 2011 post.)

The fact that 68% of mothers say their daughters will take better care of them is also not surprising.  We typically think “women” when we think “caregivers” but many men–prefer (my dad insisted on) “male” when thinking “caregivers” for themselves.  Whether or not those “males” would include their sons is anyone’s guess–probably depends on several factors including the son’s wife. (FYI: 6/22/10 post’s subject: male caregivers for older men.)

Lastly, isn’t the 80% of parents who say their children will care for them as well as they care for their parents ambiguous as to quality of care?  Does that mean if they don’t do a good job of caring for their parents, their children–likewise–won’t do a good job of caring for them–or vice versa?

It’s a fact that parents are strong role models for their children.  And parents who help their aging parents are modeling this behavior for their children who, in turn, have better odds that they will help their parents as they age.  If we believe in role models, or if we believe “what goes around, comes around,” it would seem to be all the more reason to do our best to help our parents age well.

1/9/13 Help! Aging Parents was just nominated again for the “Best Senior Living Blogs by Individuals” category, “Best of the Web” 2013.  It was 1st runner-up in 2012.  I appreciated your votes last year, and would very much appreciate them again this year by clicking if you’re on Facebook or Google+. Deadline 2/4/13. Thanks so much!