114[DhammaStudyGroup] Re: Helping elderly parents
- Feb 3, 2000As Amara said, it is a complex problem. One side of the issue is duty and
duty seems clear. But how duty is carried out is also not clear. The other
side is allowing someone to keep their independence and do things for
themselves (as my mother still wants to); allow them to make their own
decisions as long as they can. I have observed in my family (extended as
well as immediate) decisions about health care left to the patient and it is
not easy to judge when someone knows best for themselves; it is also not
always easy to see the critical turning point in a person's ability to take
care of herself / her own health (life-threatening crises are of course
clear). Is it a duty to impose a change of lifestyle or a different approach
to health? Other aspects are unfortunately mundane financial issues, also
complex: the USA does not have a universal social welfare system, neither
my mother nor I can be fully 'covered' (me not at all) and private insurance
is out of the question. Either one of us could fall ill and wipe out both
our life-savings in a few months. While I'm working here, I'm 'covered' to
some extent and will not be such a potential burden on my mother's
resources. There are home-care services available in her area, but only if a
doctor recommends them can they be initiated. My mother is still 'too
healthy' for those, but suffers from allergies and loss of strength and
short-term memory which comes with age (not an illness yet), and her
community of peers is decreasing. There are no purely commercial care
services avialable within a 50 mile radius, and likewise not many job
opportunities for me, well it would be a complete change of 'career.' And
there is a lot of clinging to my study of Asian (Hindu and Buddhist)
architecture! Ending a 'career' is also a dilemma!
> From: Sarah Procter Abbott
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> Sent: Thursday, February 3, 2000 7:50 AM
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> Subject: [DhammaStudyGroup] Re: Helping elderly parents
> We just rec'd a ltter from Gabi Hense (who is enjoying receiving these
> postings via her brother but doesn't have a computer as yet). The last few
> years have been devoted to trying to help her mother who now has
> disease (age memory loss) and is in a home. Gabi visits regularly and
> her like a child. The experience has been very demanding and it has all
> a very tough experience for Gabi....
> I think Pinna (also on the list) is also facing dilemmas concerning her
> mother in the States too.
> It's hard when one is used to living overseas and through one's
> understanding of the Teachings is aware of responsibilities which one
> necessarily stronger to handle than anyone else. Somehow it seems easier
> terms of support from others around in parts of Asia like Thailand where
> this duty is expected and appreciated. But that sounds like a
> generalisation and not very 'dhammic'! Of course there is a lot of
> attachment involved as well and disappointment if one's 'good' efforts are
> not appreciated...
> I, too, had a lot of dilemmas and difficulties in this regard when my
> parents were having a lot of marital problems and when my father became
> alcoholic. I still have a feeling (or rather thoughts) of conventional
> failure in this regard. Sometimes we try to do more than we're really up
> and not realistic about our limits. But what are these limits? What is
> I'm not sure what the question is, but feel any comments would be useful
> those of us who have faced or are facing these 'dilemmas'...is it the
> attachment that seems to make them different from other dilemmas? How
> a comment from EVERYONE on the list on this one?
> metta, Sarah
> Gabi & Pinna- hope you don't mind the mention..
> Gabi...hope you get a computer or internet provider VERY SOON! Do they
> internet cafes in yr town? S.
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