Living so far away from my mother (6,000 miles) I spend a fair amount of time worrying about what’s going to happen to her when she gets old.
My mother is 78 (I’m sure she won’t mind me telling you) but she still rides her bike, runs, dances, and practices Tai Chi. But I can see her slowing down and I know she’s not going to live forever.
My brothers and I have discussed this. We acknowledge that minor emergencies and issues will continue to fall to my middle brother, who lives the closest to my mum—about 8 miles. My older brother will most likely take care of anything that needs organizing, should my mum need more long-term care. As for me, I live too far away to do much at all. But I don’t want to regret not being there when my mother needed me, so Jose and I have discussed the possibility of me spending large chunks of time with my mother as she ages. My work will allow me to do that, as will my very understanding husband, and of course, I don’t have children to take care of, so I have that flexibility.
I’m fortunate to have brothers who don’t squabble about who will take care of our mother, but I have friends who don’t have that relationship, and it seems that the responsibility often falls to one sibling, and quite often it’s the one who doesn’t have children.
I’m wondering… do you feel that your childless/childfree status will enable you to be there as your parents age, or does it just mean that your family will expect you to carry the load because you have “no other responsibilities?”