Children should take care of their elderly parents


March 29, 2018

Dear Pastor,

For years, I have been reading your articles. It has become my, favourite part of the newspaper. However, your advice published in the North America Weekly STAR on December 14, 2017, has upset me.

In your response to 'Children should care for their elderly parents', in the last paragraph, you said, "On the other hand, everyone should prepare for old age and not rely on their children." This was a very unwise and careless response.

There are many unforeseen things that can happen in old age. My 91-year-old mother is a perfect example. She still has the house that she and my deceased father built. She is 90 per cent blind and has difficulty hearing. How in heaven's name do you expect someone like her to be independent?

Because of the sacrifices that she has made for her eight children and total strangers, not one of us would leave her to the care of other family members or strangers. Never!

Five of us are in the United States and Canada. I know that three of us over here would give up everything and return to Jamaica to take care of her. Almost every culture, with the exception of most of the West, sacredly and with honour accepts this inevitable responsibility.

Most Jamaicans like to copy the Americans and place their ageing parents in nursing homes. Don't be a party to this as your advice suggests.


Dear D.L.,

I am surprised by your comments. You took a few words in my response to condemn me. You ought to do better than that. I expect you to read with understanding and not to bash me or criticise without a real cause or because of your lack of understanding.

You asked how I would expect someone the age of your mother to support herself. But, what you fail to comment on is what I had said in context - that children should support their elderly parents. I cannot apologise for saying so, but, having said that, I went on to say that it is the responsibility of parents to make preparation for old age. I have always believed that. I surely would be out of my mind to believe that a 91-year-old person could do everything for him/herself or even have enough money to financially support himself/herself.

So, my dear sir, don't show off because your siblings and others can support your mother. I commend you all for doing so, but I make no apology for what I have written.

By the way, please don't condemn those who have placed their parents in senior citizens homes. Many have done so not because they don't like their parents, but because their parents would get better care in these homes than if they stay in their own homes. At least some of these senior citizen homes have nurses around the clock and medical doctors on call. So, this 'copycat' thing that you are talking about is an insult to intelligent Jamaicans.


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