Home > Uncategorized > Old parents should allow access to their aging offspring.

Old parents should allow access to their aging offspring.

I know of several people, my brothers and I included, who have been cut off from our very old parents. Perhaps the old seniors believe they are making our lives more convenient by isolating themselves, but it’s not so. My brothers and I, after our father passed away, made every effort to get Mom to come live with us… any one of us. Each of us had our own homes, and each home had a spare room for Mom, but she refused, saying she wanted to continue as she was. That was not the worst of it. She also refused to take phone calls after she was forced by a stroke to live in an assisted living home.

My brothers and I all lived either hundreds or thousands of miles from our home town where Mom still lived, so if we wanted to see or speak to our mother, we had to spend a lot of time and money to do it, so we couldn’t do it very frequently. We all had jobs and families, and taking a few days to see our mother was not easy. Mother, on the other hand, had nothing but time on her hands after Dad was gone. Still, she selfishly kept us at bay.

In sharp contrast, my ex-wife had an aunt in her seventies who, every year, took short trips and visits to each of her children. One lived close to her, so they saw each other frequently. Her other children lived far afield, yet she took the time and trouble to travel to their homes, visited for a few days and moved on to the next offspring before returning home.

At this time, my stepson suffers angst because his father has similarly isolated himself, stays at home alone all the time, and will not answer his phone. In fact, he unplugs it. He has several computers, but no Internet, so even that convenient opportunity is removed. Why do these older people do that? I can’t imagine. I’m in my seventies, and I hunger to see my daughter who lives a five-hour drive away. I happily make that drive with my wife and dog as often as is convenient for my daughter. Once or twice a year she and her boyfriend visit us for a few days as well.

I have to admit that I also have a son who has been estranged from me for about 30 years. I’ve seen him superficially on perhaps two occasions in all that time – each time at a family funeral and no more than that. I don’t know why he chooses to ostracize me, and perhaps it’s something similar to Mom keeping us from her… I don’t know.

I just know one thing – when all else fails, only one’s direct relatives can be counted upon to take one’s side and help one through the tough times. I’ve heard stories, after the fact, of unwise decisions my estranged son has made, from which I could have saved him – if I had known what he was up to.

I thank goodness for the warmth of my daughter, toward me and toward her step-mother. We have wonderful visits a couple of times a year, and communications face-to-face on Skype from time to time.

This bit of advice to older parents of adult children – give them lots of access so they can share their lives with you, and have opportunities to show their love and caring.


The easy confidence with which I know another man’s religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.


Mark Twain

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