Last week one of our readers posted a comment on our post titled “DINKS: Smart or Selfish?” . It made me start thinking about our DINKS lifestyle and the generation gap between us and our parents.
On June 29 Kitty commented “Now, in the US kids normally don’t take care of their parents. But at least it’s somebody young who can maybe call you or help arrange for care when you are old. Even if not, it’s at least someone you could call.”
This statement is very true, and it is actually a discussion right now that I am having with my boyfriend Nick. I always thought that our hassle free DINK lifestyle would be thrown upside down by our kids. Never in a million years did I think that our lifestyle could change because of our parents.
My father’s side of our family is eastern European. Ukrainian, to be exact. Although I am the second generation to be in Canada, my father still holds some old school values from “the old country”. He is a strong believer in blood is thicker than water. My father has an “eye for an eye” mentality when it comes to most things, but not to our family. Regardless of the wrongs that other family members do to harm us, at the end of the day his advice is always to forgive them because “they are family.” I can’t even count how many times I have heard my father say that.
My grandfather lived with my Dad and I until he passed away in November of 1998. Now my only surviving grandparent is my grandmother on my mother’s side. She just recently moved into an elderly care facility because she needs assistance with her everyday tasks such as washing and getting dressed. She also suffers from the early stages of dementia.
My boyfriend Nick who is European/African does not understand my mother’s choice to “commit” my grandmother into a senior care facility. His grandmother still lives with his Aunt and she will continue to do so until she passes on. Similar to my family, the only surviving grandparent he has left is his grandmother on his mother’s side. Nick comes from a culture where you always respect your elders, regardless of how old you are. His family also believes that you take care of your parents. Elderly care facilities are not an option.
Many of us DINKS are in the, what we call, “sandwich generation.” It is the time of our lives when we are old enough to, and may be starting our own families. While at the same time we may be living with, and/or caring for our parents. We are sandwiched in between the older and younger generations.
This is something that we need to prepare for both mentally, as well as financially. Feeding, housing, and clothing another person (especially one with special needs) can have a huge impact on your monthly budget. If you could afford it, would you invite your parents to live with you? Or would you fund their stay at an elderly care facility?
(Photo By marnanel)