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129[DhammaStudyGroup] Re: Helping elderly parents

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  • Sarah Procter Abbott
    Feb 10, 2000
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      Pinna,
      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
      conventional level!

      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....

      Sarah>
      >

      >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
      >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? ......
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