A Generational or Gender Issue?

by Bob
(Australia)

I'm the fourth of five sons, with a 94 year old mother presently an independent retiree, though health issues are seeing her ability to cope diminish fairly quickly.


For years I've tried to get "the boys" to behave like adults, communicate with each other, consult and discuss Mum's concerns, the idea being to improve her situation and provide essential emotional and social support.

When Dad passed away three years ago, the response of the youngest son was, why don't we take turns at ringing her once a week. That's one call per month. Pathetic, isn't it.

I queried the wisdom of this economy of communication, and the response was: she's the one who will have to make some adjustments.

As it happened, he was right, and along with grieving the loss of her loved one, she had to learn to live with very minimal support from her sons, lower her expectations, hide her real feelings, and break down in private, her only solace was her Bible and her faith.

Having flicked down the entries on this site, I am saddened that there is so much of this around, and to me it seems as much to be a generational as it is no doubt a gender issue.

Where is the love, compassion and understanding? What happened to the children of the sixties raised on Love and the Beatles? What happened to principles of democracy and compassion as the foundation for sibling relations?

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Respectfully Speaking
by: Anonymous

I would like to respectfully to respond to your post "generational or gender issue"... After reading your post, I would like to know why your mother received minimal support?...

As I read that brother's chose not to be there for your mother, what about you? You certainly could have been there to support her in her time of need... maybe 24/7, like most of us here.

Many of us are there for our parents 24/7 - some have quit there jobs (like myself), some have moved across town (like, myself), some were thrown into this position, some have sibling (like yourself) who have no interest in supporting there parent or the caretaker for that matter - so I understand your frustration with your brothers.

It's the caretakers who are the hero's. I myself volunteered to quit my job, move across town to live my mother (all with her consent) -

I was surprised to find that I was met with unreasonable rules as this is "her house"...surprised to see that my is mean spirited toward me, surprised to find that my mother constantly complains about every little thing I do, accuses me of stealing her money. I am unappreciated, I am ridiculed, very unloved, disrespected - I feel very rejected by her.

If I would have known this was what was awaiting me, I do not think I would have volunteered for the position, but here I am.

Now, thankfully, I do have sibling who support me, and I make myself accountable to them - I am able to call them and say "help!" and they are there to support me, and I repeat - to support me.

Even though I have the support, there are days I want to pull my hair out! I cannot imagine what my life/days would be like if I did not have this support from my siblings!

I was smart enough to get myself into a support group to grow from this experience. Now, there are many on this site who do not have the support; who are there 24/7 to support there parent and they are constantly ridiculed, totally unappreciated, and I might add - all alone... hence "this site"; it is the only site they have to vent and by venting, they receive responses whereby they no longer feel all alone.

I can't imagine if I had to work. I should be working, but it would make my life that much more difficult juggling a work schedule and my mother's schedule; furthermore, my work schedule would be interrupted constantly.

So, I can't imagine what life is like for those who do work full time and who are also full time caregiver's for a parent who is so ungrateful.

Most of us understand this behavior from our parents is a result of their mental state, but it does not make it any easier.

So, I ask you, why aren't you with your mother 24/7 to support her? Most of us here are trying to work out our situation by venting - it is therapeutic in a sense.

We do love our parents, we just get frustrated - as a lot of are sacrificing our lives for our parent(s).

It's just when that love we have for our parent is constantly met with feeling violated, being rejected etc., it can be difficult for us emotionally. Respectfully speaking to you, all situations are unique. Best to you and your mother.

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Generational/Gender Issue
by: Anonymous

Having spoken with so many other caregivers in my age bracket over the past 16 months, I'm convinced the caregiving dilemma we're seeing today is something that never existed in our country (USA) before.

For one thing nobody lived as long as they do today and the medical community is coming up with new treatments and drugs every day to lengthen people's lives even more.

Speaking for myself, I have no desire to live so long that I can no longer take care of my own needs, nor do I want to spend my time thinking of all the things I can no longer do or contribute.

We have not been prepared for this reality in our generation and considering how much longer people are living today, I think we better start giving it more thought regardless of our gender.

It's real easy to say we "owe it to our parents" to take care of them, but it's another knowing what that entails and how it can be managed for the betterment of everyone's life.

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All Stories Are Truly Different
by: Anonymous

Bob, your mother is doing well for her age and up until recently, it sounds like she's been living a fairly independent life.

Some of us have had different experiences and I'm not sure gender is the only component. When dementia and critical illness are part of the situation, they compound the problem.

I think it *is* true that women are expected to step up and take care of everyone, but that doesn't necessarily mean we like it or are more loving. The demands of sick, elderly parents can be overwhelming.

I think you'll find the greatest number of responses here are from women, primarily because we're stuck with the work. Many of us are struggling with the responsibilities of caregiver while trying to juggle other jobs such as earning a living, taking care of our own families, etc.

Some have sacrificed years of their own well-being and happiness to care for their parents. And yes, that's going to cause resentment. You and your brothers are not asked to do anything like that.

So when you feel disheartened by the comments you see here, you have to remember that no situation is the same as yours.

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