Posted: Jul 19, 2014 8:29 pm
by Beatsong
tuco wrote:What happened in the last century or so is that people started to migrate more often and further away from their families for various reasons - jobs, independence, environment. Traditional family ties, when two and more generations used to live under one roof, been broken.


This subject is a bit close to the bone for me because my mother is just entering end-game territory, in another country on the other side of the world. Actually I'm flying out to see her in a few weeks, but that's not something I can do very often. My brothers live near her and more or less look after her, but they're a bit rubbish. OTOH who am I to criticise, when I'm not even there to help at all?

Another thing I would add to the point made above by tuco and others, is the effect of people having children later. This has stretched the size of generations, to the point where middle aged working adults are often still busy caring for their own kids at the time when their parents get old and need caring for. I was the youngest in my family and my parents were in their late thirties when I was born (which was unusual in those days). I was then in my late thirties before I started having my own kids. As a result, I'm now a stressed out over-stretched working and caring dad, at the same time as my mum is needing more help. If you subtracted 10 years from both of those generations (as would have been more normal in the old days), my own kids would be long gone and independent before I was having to deal with the other side of things. As it is, there's just not enough of me to go around. Being on the other side of the world doesn't help of course, but even that would be easier to work around if I didn't have to consider school term times, childcare duties etc.

It's easy to criticize people for not having time for the elderly, but in many cases it may come down to precisely this - that more of those people still have their time taken up with the youngerly. Whatcha gonna do?