129[DhammaStudyGroup] Re: Helping elderly parents
- Feb 10, 2000Pinna,
as you comment, how duty is carried out is not clear. We could say, how
kusala is carried out is not clear either...the best kusala is understanding
reality and it maybe that nothing is done!
Like you say, (especially in the West I think), maintaining 'independence'
is very important to the elderly. Both Jonothan's mother and mine would hate
anyone to live with them and much prefer to take care of themselves..indeed
it's what keeps them going...They are also fortunate that this is possible.
Sometimes we are too concerned to impose our value judgments rather than
allow them to make their own choices.. On my last visit, I tried to urge my
mother to get a part-time cleaner to help do the chores she avoids, but she
didn't appreciate my comments at all (or my offer to pay for it)! S'times,
positive encouragement rather than shows of our concern or worry is more
helpful. It reminds me of when Jonothan discovered his tumour. One close
friend, kept calling & urging us to send him for surgery immediately and
giving us 'scare' stories of what would happen if we didn't. I'm sure she
meant well, I know she meant well, but in the end we found it a condition
for extra worry and I had to politely ask her not to call anymore...We need
to make our own choices even if they're not the 'best'.
If you stay based in Asia as you'd prefer w/plenty of visits 'home', maybe
your mother would prefer it...seeing you well and happy may be most
important to her..No right or wrong of course, and however much thinking and
planning there is, we don't know what will happen or what we'll do even on a
As Ivan pointed out, attachment makes life difficult for us in this
regard....But I also think like Thanarong that it's not just
attachment....many different moments, kusala and akusala...
I'm glad to hear your mother is still well and healthy....
>As 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
>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
>to health? ......
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