I had a conversation today that left me dismayed. During lunch at work I followed up with one of my human resources personnel about our company dropping long term healthcare insurance. He told that our company has not decided whether to use another company or leave things in the current state.
I was discussing long term care with two of my coworkers however they'd never heard of long term healthcare insurance. I explained to them that Medicare and Medicaid don't cover beyond the basic care. I was very upset that our company decided to drop it.
I asked one coworker if they had thought about what they would do if they developed into an invalid. She stated that her children will take care of her. My other coworker chimed in with same reply. I asked both of them if they could be sure their kids would take care of them when they were older. Again, they wholeheartedly stated it would be affirmative. Then I asked them what would they do if they had a debilitating disease that required a substantial amount of money their children couldn't afford. Immediate one of my coworkers stated that she didn't need to worry or have a plan because God would heal her and protect her.
Here are my questions:
Should children take a financial burden caused by their parents lack of retirement planning?
Is it moral to have children in order to have built in caretakers?
Also, both coworkers stated their children "owed" them and should take care of them. Do you think this attitude is justified?
I don't think it is moral to create-your-own caretakers by making babies, and it's very unsmart to assume that someone will shoulder your responsibilities. It will cause problems in the relationships with the children, and it's also assuming that your children will be healthy and will have specific skills and knowledge. I work with elderly people and there are lots of people with kids who still have to hire caregivers; the woman I know who has no kids has saved enough money for 24-hour live-in caretaking.
God will take care of them? Good luck with that. I've known religious people who had strokes.
I plan to take care of Mom, though. It seems like an honorable thing to do. I get along very well with her. My father (I don't get along so great with him) moved to another country, but I don't think I would have signed up to take care of him.
My parents do not ever want to be in a position where they are taken care of. They always want to take care of themselves. Though, if I am able, I would help in their care.
The answers depend on the broader societal context. In a "traditional" society where multiple generations share a dwelling and an extended family partakes of the same village life, a multi-generational compact might make sense. Grandparents and great-grandparents provide free baby-sitting, and in exchange the adult children take care of the elderly. Spinster aunts and uncles share the homestead with siblings who have children of their own. The entire "clan" might be 100+ people. This happens for example in the agrarian Middle East. Personally I would not enjoy this lifestyle; I would find it to be stultifying and repulsive. But in terms of raw economics - whether it actually works or not - the answer is probably in the affirmative.
For a modern society with its emphasis on the nuclear family, the answer is precisely the opposite. Adult children who don't move out of their parents' house after college are regarded as lazy or otherwise deficient. Abandoning mom and dad is regarded as a rite of passage. If and when the next generation arrives, the grandparents are occasional visitors to play with the grandkids, but are not regular caregivers. When the grandparents are no longer self-sufficient, the only recourse becomes to institutionalize them.
Of all of the stupid reasons for reproducing, creating a built-in caregiver is one of the stupidest - and the most selfish. But human nature is still mired in a primitive village reference point, a reference point of extended-families. It's tragic that modern times have not produced modern understanding.
Yet another awesomely written response. I wish I could read more of you :)
It's sad that "abandoning family" is a measure of successful adulthood.
My own parents have pulled this "you have to take care of us" bullshit.
Uh, no I don't. You chose to have kids, I can choose to not change an elderly person's diaper because guess what, you chose to get giant-ass cars and waste money on status symbols rather than saving it for later or getting proper insurance.
Children don't "owe" their parents shit. And this is why I never ask my parents for everything--anything they give me, no matter how small, becomes a "bargaining chip" something for them to whine about constantly and demand that I "pay them back" for it. It could be a fucking egg McMuffin from McDonald's and they'll bitch about wanting to be paid back for it.
They also have a habit of bringing up shit like "when I was your age."
No, shut the fuck up, mom and dad, you don't know what it's like to be a kid now, and things have changed. Stop comparing your life with alcoholic parents to my life with mentally abusive ones and claiming that you had it harder, because it solves exactly ZERO problems that either of us have.
My parents are willing to bend over backwards for me because they feel they are obliged to as parents. The way I am supposed to pay them back? Do the same thing for me kids, or in my case, my nephews.
I've been away from this site for a while, and one reason for this was my late mother's illness. Contrary to expectations, I actually ended up as her caregiver. For much of her illness, she was functional and independent - in fact, heroically so. It was only final month that she was bedridden and helpless. I did hire home health-aides to assist with care for those bodily functions that I was too embarrassed to care for myself. As I was mom's only child, and only remaining relative in America, it was in a way a bonding experience.
Having gone through this, my determination to NOT have children is all the more intense. No doubt mom was grateful for my presence, and I don't begrudge this to her. She didn't have to beg or scold... it came naturally as filial responsibility, and quite honestly I don't resent it. But most assuredly I would feel constricted and dismayed, if upon my own senescence I'd have been similarly dependent on a junior relative - whether my own hypothetical offspring, or a nephew/niece/etc. (not that I have any).
The upshot of all of this is to plan ahead, both financially and emotionally.
And there is another upshot, lest I conclude on what sounds like a self-righteous tone (that being the furthest thing from my intention!). Having lost mom, the feeling of loneliness is quite burdensome and stark. People pass away, leaving others behind. Were I to have had offspring of my own, likewise leaving them behind, it would have been an awful burden. I'm not thrilled to be alone, but I rejoice that the chain of dependency ends with me. There will not be another generation.