A Woman’s Work Is Never Done

Do women have a disproportional amount of responsibility when it comes to caring for aging parents? As members of the “sandwich generation” watch their parents age, they find themselves falling more and more into stereotypical care-giving gender roles. Or so claims Jane Gross in her NY Times blog
The New Old Age. In her post from September 23, Gross gives advice to women who find themselves taking on the role of caregiver, while their siblings, (and brothers are mentioned specifically) watch from afar.

Gross recommends the website Dutiful Daughters (and Sainted Sons) which provides coping and caring resources for children who have taken on the care-giving role. The website belongs to a group of Elder Care Advocates and Geriatric Care Managers whose goal it is to better equip and support those children who find themselves thrown—sometimes reluctantly—into the role of caregiver.

Gross goes out on a limb in this blog post, sharing the less-than-generous feelings she had toward her own brother when he was less involved than she in caring for their mother, and she shares her experience in accepting and coming to terms with this inequality. The reactions and comments from her readers range from grateful and understanding to horrified and angry. They mirror the range of reactions that can be found in adult children who are caring for their parents without the help of siblings.

What is truly tragic about this is how often family relationships are ruined by these fights between family members. Some siblings even go so far as to take legal action against one another. As Jane Gross can tell you, there is no easy solution to this issue, but certain steps taken early can help to relieve the tension. Going with your siblings to see an Attorney who is senstive to these family issues can give everyone a clear picture of the extreme financial and physical demands placed on care-givers, and how to best deal with those demands—not each alone, but as a family.