The Upper Class Attitude

The original purpose of this board (as I see it) was supposed to be a support for those who take care of their parents and don't get any help from siblings. It seems that lately there are a lot of posts from people who want to defend their position on NOT wanting to take care of their parents. This was not meant to be the original intent of this board.


I find that the people who don't want to help their parents are typically the upper class professional women who are too busy with their careers and weekend social plans and trips.

This is strictly an upper class attitude, and one that I'm familiar with, because I work in a large office where the women are highly educated and well-paid. They tend to look down on me because I'm helping my parent. They tend to get aggressive about their own positions (which is stick parents in assisted living as fast as possible so they don't have to spend even one precious weekend mowing parent's grass or buying their groceries). Even the tiniest task for their parent is too much trouble.

This explains why so many siblings don't want to help out.

And yes, I'm sick of hearing about all of the "reasons" why they think their parents don't "deserve" help.

Comments for The Upper Class Attitude

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The Church is not helping
by: Clarabell

I repeat to the person who instructs 'Go back to the Church', I have gone back repeatedly and there is no help. Our ministers are stretched, our lay people are broken.

Open your eyes please to what I am saying. Our Church is under huge stress.

Intellectually, your argument about the decline of the family also being a factor in my situation does not hold water. If my parents had had more children, I may have received more assistance but they didn't. My parents were chaste before marriage, so I cannot see how your argument about abortion factors here.

Furthermore, London is not exactly underpopulated so in theory, there should be plenty of people to help but the culture of individualism and materialism as well as rampant inflation (which keeps people in jobs they hate) reduces the number of volunteers.

I don't disagree that the family is under attack but to say that my particular needs are not met because of familial decline or abortion is inaccurate. You're making some pretty broad strokes here to further political points.

The Church as a whole needs to take a wider-angle view of this issue before staking a claim that it's all down to abortion and family decline. Please gather your evidence and present me with statistics because frankly, you just seem to be singing a hymn that only applies to a fraction of the picture.

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The Church doesn't always help
by: Clarabell

I am a 41 year old woman with an 88 year old father. My parents married late and had just two children. Extended family live at the other end of the country and abroad, so cannot help. My brother lives on the other side of London, has marital issues and very often just does not want to or is not able to help.

My father and I are practicing Christians. We depend on lifts from other Christians to attend church but on a day to day basis, it is just me and Dad. I work right now but as Dad declines, I will be pressured to be there all the time. This will impact on my future.

I have given up a lot for this situation and may find employment after being a carer challenging. It is not clear whether I will be able to find a spouse of my own either.

There are times when I feel overwhelmed and as a Christian I do call on the Lord to help but my help does not always come from other Christians.

That my situation is due to abortion as Anonymous contends, is ridiculous. It's due to a wider malaise in a society that closes its eyes, in general, to those who need help.

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The Answer-The Total Destruction of the Family
by: Anonymous

All your answers need to be found in God. Just look around you. For years the family has been broken and destroyed by a huge system that would prefer to have abortions and kill off the elderly.

Siblings that don't help or are too busy to be bothered are the result of it. Elderly parents that don't appreciate the help are a result of it.

Get back to your local Christian church and you will hopefully find the support you need.

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To Misunderstood.
by: Leasa

Ah, yes, point taken and I do agree with you. Thanks for clearing it up.

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Misunderstood
by: Anonymous

As usual my comments about whipping up a meatloaf were misunderstood.

First of all, I'm not talking about a parent with an end stage disease like Alzheimer's or the parent who needs 24/7 care at the end of their life. I'm talking about a parent who is elderly and has some health issues that makes it difficult to drive, get around, or do manual labor but who is still able to live in their own home with a little help from their adult child.

Any time I mention helping a parent, someone jumps in here and has to "remind" me that THEIR parent needs 24/7 care! Well, there's a wide range of difference and ability between that parent who needs 24/7 care and a parent who is elderly and ailing but is, for the most part, OK to live independently with assistance.

I am sure that when my parent reaches the end stage of their life, yes, they may need 24/7 care too. At that time, no, I won't be whipping up meat loafs for them. That's not rocket science, and yes, I do "get" that sometimes the parent is far beyond the meat loaf stage. I'm not dumb, I get it (more than you realize, because I'm a nurse).

But I also "get" that many adult children are just too LAZY to do anything, no matter how small, for their parent, and constantly cook up excuse after excuse. For that matter, they don't take care of their own houses or make their own meals either. Being LAZY is a career.

Case in point: I know a woman who is too busy running around to karaoke bars every night, taking care of her multiple animals, and running her spoiled teenager around to her spoiled little friends houses in Timbuktu to make one small visit to her parent here and there or bring him a casserole or a DVD to watch.

So stop with the dramatics about the 24/7 care. That's not the majority of parents.

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Reply to Bottom Line
by: Leasa

Here it is; if my mom could have lived and all I had to do was whip up a meatloaf, take out her garbage and do a few other light chores I would have done those every day with a song in my heart and gladly.

If you read most of these threads, my old ones included we are talking about people caring for people in late stages of diseases that cause dementia, or late stage cancer, or have lost complete mobility and are incontinent...people who cannot wash (or will not) wash their own faces. People who need 24-7 care.

If I could have continued to care for my mom and still manage a life of my own there would have never been a problem. Let's also not forget that it's not always the physical end of it but sometimes caring for an elderly parent is 24-7 of emotional hell. Especially when you are doing your very best, yet, they keep telling you what an idiot failure you are. And that does happen more than we'd like to think.

We can't judge others and we certainly don't want to guilt others into doing more than they are equipped to do, because that is where people will cross the line to abuse. Guilt is a powerful thing.

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Bottom Line
by: Third Sister

Just for the record, I disagree with everything said in this post. It does actually take longer to do laundry or shopping for two people than for one, even more so if they don't live together.

And cooking, if your parent is a picky eater and doesn't want the same food. It takes time to pick up a parent who doesn't drive, fold up their walker, get them safely into the car and buckled up, get out of the car at the grocery store and find them a motorized cart and drive it back to the car and settle them into it and do all the steps in reverse when you get home, plus hauling their groceries into the house and unpacking everything and putting it away before driving to your own house to unpack your own groceries and put them away.

Maybe you find this a trivial amount of effort. Maybe it doesn't aggravate you or wear you down. But this attitude of "it's the right thing to do, so stop complaining" is your opinion and your opinion only. You may be shocked to learn this, but you don't have the right to judge what is right for other people, in other situations.

And people who get roped into a life of thankless servitude to an elderly parent have the right to complain as much as they want. They even have the right to flat-out not do it, no matter what an arrogant and opinionated total stranger thinks.

I don't agree that the person who is really suffering is the elderly parent. They get to dump all their needs and wants and problems on someone else, someone who didn't cause those problems, can't fix them, and can only waste their own life trying to make it a little bit better for the parent.

My parent lived her life. She had 20+ years of retirement flitting around worrying about nobody but herself. Her needs and wants are now depriving me of having even a small portion of the freedom and opportunity that she herself had.

She could have worked longer (she retired in perfect health at 57) or saved more, but she made no provisions for her own old age except unpaid care from her adult children. Was that the right thing for her to do?

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Bottom Line
by: Anonymous

The bottom line is that we all want to be jetting off somewhere like Aruba and not have to take out the garbage or do the laundry for our parent, who yes, does get on our nerves sometimes. But sometimes in life, we have to put ourselves aside and do the right thing.

Helping a sick, elderly parent is the right thing to do--even if the parent wasn't the greatest parent or isn't a nice person at times. It's a temporary inconvenience. Try to see that the person who is truly suffering is the parent.

Many tasks actually take very little time or effort to do yourself. For example, I whipped up a meat loaf for my parent in literally 10 minutes one weekend. If I make soup for myself, I share some with her. It takes no effort at all for me to add her laundry to mine or to pick up her medications. I do the food shopping for both of us--it's not extra effort because I have to do mine anyway.

All I'm saying is that many of the tasks that people are complaining about take literally very little time or effort to do.

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Menial Work
by: Third Sister

I'm the one who said that some people might not want to do menial tasks for their elderly parents, and when I said that, I was referring specifically to myself.

Most of the tasks I perform for my mother are menial tasks like taking out her garbage, hauling in her groceries and cleaning up after her non-housebroken dog. I do them because she's unable to do them herself but in all honesty, those tasks are very ungratifying and I'd prefer not to have to do them.

I much prefer spending time with her, taking care of more social and emotional needs, which allows me to feel like a daughter and not like an unpaid servant.

I don't understand anyone getting offended at a term which accurately describes some of the tasks we (or I, anyway) routinely do. Grunt work is grunt work. Nobody likes it, we all do it, and I'm sure we all would prefer to be doing less of it.

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Condemnation Inappropriate for this Forum
by: Marie

Very well said Leesa! Whether we do everything for them or not we are condemned by others that truly don't understand.

Please don't use this forum as a place to condemn another's actions with a parent. We hear it enough while trying to muddle through this caretaking experience.

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I see both sides.. BUT...
by: Anonymous

I see both sides, I do, however the defensiveness of those who have chosen to pay for services for their parents tells quite a tale. Also, the way one respondent classifies some tasks as "menial" speaks volumes.

I agree with Leasa's comment that the ones who feel the most guilt do seem to be the ones that are trying the hardest.

For what it's worth, I have "higher education" and I've had professional, well paid, white collar jobs but I do not think of caring for the elderly or their home as being a 'menial' task. it's a very, very, difficult task, that's for sure - but it is not menial. (can you tell that that comment really got under my skin?)

I don't think that we should be dividing this between 'upper class' and 'lower class' rather I think the difference is between people's levels of empathy. there are people who don't feel that connection and bond strongly enough to do the hard work of caring when it means taking time out to do it.

I admit that I feel resentment at having to use my time to care for sick relatives - but mostly I feel that way because i am the ONLY ONE who does! If others in my family would do their share the resentment would disappear. I don't mind the tasks, I mind the attitude that they have that their lives are too important to be interrupted whereas, I guess, they see my life and believe that my time is worth less than theirs.

Thanks for bringing this up - I think it's an important discussion even though it is very charged with emotion.

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Reply to "not Everyone can Afford to Pay"
by: Third Sister

Of course not everyone can afford to pay. Not only that, almost nobody can afford to pay for everything a senior might need in his/her lifetime, like a decade of nursing home care for example.

I don't hear anybody on this board harking to the tune of "pay for it." I agree, however, that if you talk to enough people, somebody is bound to suggest a solution that's not affordable for most people, like assisted living, paid home help, a geriatric care manager, or extensive home renovations or equipment for accessibility. I too get tired of telling people that my mother can't afford those things.

Your belief that all seniors should be cared for at home with the whole family pitching in is just that ...it's your belief. It's not practical in a lot of situations, money or not, and it's not the reality. I have six siblings, four of whom live out of state, hundreds of miles away. They're working and raising families, except for one who's a drug addict and alcoholic. They're not helping. They never will. It doesn't matter what I think or what you think.

Believe me, if my mother had money for paid help or assisted living, I would not be caregiving. I would probably not even be living in the same state as her. I'd be exercising my inalienable right to the pursuit of my own happiness.

I don't feel that my mother is underserving of care, but I do feel that I deserve a life of my own that isn't organized around her needs. Unfortunately, without money, that isn't something I can have.

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Not Everyone can Afford to Pay
by: Anonymous

I see I struck many nerves, but the reason I wrote the post is to remind everyone that not everyone can afford to pay for this and that.

Many of us caring for parents can't afford lawn care, snow shoveling, private duty aides, cleaning persons, Meals on Wheels, security systems, and what not. And my parent cannot afford assisted living.

So I suspect that the ones who are harking to the tune of "pay for it" must not be feeling the pinch in this economy like the rest of us. The only ones who can afford to keep saying "Pay for it" are the upper class professionals. If that strikes a nerve, well, the truth hurts.

My personal belief is that parents should be cared for at home with all of the family members pitching in. If more deadbeat siblings stepped up to the plate, we wouldn't have to argue about this.

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Thank you.
by: Leasa

I have to say thank you to the people who built this forum....it was so good to be able to get it off my chest and clear my mind, like I could do with no family member at the time. Thank you.

Also, the one consistent thread here that I think I see in these posts is 'guilt'. Most of the time undeserved and ruining lives. This forum is invaluable to those with the heaviest dose of guilt on their shoulders...I hope we help to knock it off and lighten their load...I know what it can do.

Again, a heart felt thanks for doing this. (have you noticed, the people suffering the heaviest guilt, are often the people doing the most?)

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Hostile Attitude
by: Third Sister

First I would like to say that I would have given this post zero stars if that was an option. Or better yet, negative something.

I don't know what the original intent of this board was - I'm not a founding member and I doubt the original poster was either. I also didn't see any link to or quotes from the board's mission statement or any other document backing up the original poster's claim about the board's original intent.

I would say that someone doesn't want to provide elder care, or in particular doesn't want to perform menial tasks or manual labor like moving the elder's lawn, you have no right to judge her decision unless you know her personal situation very intimately, and maybe not even then. Other people's reasons for choosing (or preferring) not to provide help may be as valid as your reasons for choosing to help. It's not your place, as a stranger to the situation, to discount their reasons as "excuses."

There may be differences between how professional workers and blue collar workers respond to the demands of elder care. It may be that a professional degree and career makes someone place a higher value on their time and labor than someone without those attributes. However, I don't believe that you, with your clear bias in favor of care giving and your clear hostility towards the professional class of workers, are in any position to make that judgment.

Editor's Note: Hello Everyone!.... We developed this website with the intent to help all who now or will be a caregiver to an elderly parent. (Third Sister....hope it is okay to tag this on after your comment)

After a number of years taking care of our parents we asked the question.."are we the only ones?"...the answer from these forums is a decided No!

The thought was to create an open forum within the website to exchange thoughts and feelings about everyday life. The intent was, in some small way to help the person that has the immense responsibility of making their parents lives easier.

We believe that this forum does just that as we have been heartened by the hundreds upon hundreds of responses making our lives here and (hopefully others)that much easier (care giving and web building and a job and family....whew!)

A big THANK YOU with much appreciation to all that have submitted comments...you have helped us get through this time and we are certain you have helped others as well.

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Wow.
by: Leasa

I don't think I've ever seen such an insensitive comment, ever. I'm glad that you find life so easy and can keep your parent at home with you, all by yourself, with no help right to the end of their life and find it all a happy walk in the park.

Also, you have a lot of nerve insinuating that people with education and good jobs somehow love their parents less. All people in this life get to the point where their health will not allow them to be at home and cared for by one person. It is impossible.

Even after the parent has to go to care, it is still a struggle to see them like that, still as heart breaking as it is for the lower income people and it's still very hard to make the time to go to that hospital or care facility every single day. Income and education have nothing to do with it.

I think this forum is for all people who struggle with elderly and sick parents. Not all people are deserving or nice simply because they are old. This world is made up of all kinds of people, some who neglected their children, beat their children or what have you, and then expect those same children to give up their adult lives taking care of them. This is a huge struggle for those people and this is the ideal forum for them to reach out.

I believe everyone does what they can and most people love their parents. Guilt should not be a part of it. You just laid a whole lot on, and that was very unfair.

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