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Parents’ Day 2021: Exploring The Dilemma Of Living With Senior African Parents Vs Putting Them In Senior Homes

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Take a break and reflect, where would we be without our parents, the ones who loved us even before we were born? They do so much for us every day of our young lives and even as adults. Many people all over the world—probably including you reading this—do not know about the celebration of Parents’ Day. Just like the world celebrates children on May 27, parents are celebrated every fourth Sunday of July in the United States.

As Parents’ Day 2021 approaches, the world gets set to celebrate parents who are making sacrifices and doing their best to mold children into valuable members of society. It is a symbolic event held to “recognize, uplift, and support the role of parents in the rearing of children”. The average person erroneously believes that the global celebration is exclusive to parents. To further understand and appreciate the celebration, we step back to its origin.

Parents and Child

Parents’ Day 2021 remind us of the sanctity of parenthood. [Photo Credit: National Day Today]

Who Started Parents’ Day? 

The idea of a Parents’ Day was first mooted in South Korea in 1973, replacing Mother’s Day which was originally celebrated on May 8. The United States designation of the celebration came into being when Senator Trent Lott introduced it. President Bill Clinton signed it into law in 1994. 

Internationally, the United Nations designated June 1 as its Parents’ Day at its 2012 General Assembly. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, President Mobutu introduced a “Parents’ and Ancestors’ Day” in 1979. It is celebrated on August 1.


How Can You Celebrate Parents’ Day?

As a child, there are several things you could do to celebrate your parents. You could spend time with them, showering them with love, attention, and all the gifts in the world. If you have someone who is like a parent to you, you should also do for them all that you would do for your parents. 

As a parent to young children, set the domestic work aside and go have fun at the park or some fun place. Find a moment alone with each of your children and show them how glad you are to be their parent. You can also amplify the celebrations on social media by joining the conversation using #NationalParentsDay. Some groups have been talking about National Parents’s Day 2021 online. See some of these conversations.

Senior Residents vs Senior Homes: Which System Is Better? 

In the western world, it is customary for most children to move their parents into special homes meant to take care of senior citizens. However, in African nations (and other developing countries), aging parents usually live with relatives and children. For our parents’ day special, examine both systems to determine which is better. 

Pros and Cons of Living With Parents

Big family

You may be comfortable living with your parents…or not. [Photo Credit: Dreamstime.com]

Like almost every system, living with aged parents has its advantages and disadvantages. If you are thinking of having your aging parents move into your home, consider the following pros and cons.

Pros of Living with an Aging Parent

#1. Saving Money on Living Expenses 

Living with your elderly parent at home means that they will not pay for their living expenses. This is particularly useful for elderly parents who cannot afford to keep their own place. Also, aging parents can contribute to their retirement savings to the running of the home. It is more cost-effective compared to paying for a retirement home.

#2. Getting More Family Time

Work and family demands can take up a significant amount of time, leaving very little time to spend with your parents. That will not be an issue if they live with you. If you have kids, it also provides them with more opportunities to get to know and bond with their grandparents. This can strengthen the relationships you all have with one another. It is also a way of giving back to your parents. 

#3. No Need Hiring a Babysitter

If you have a busy schedule of work late shifts, there is a high chance that you may need to hire a babysitter. However, if your parents live with you, you can easily leave your kids in their care. With parents, you are certain that your children are in good hands considering some of the negative reports on babysitters.

Cons of Living With an Aging Parent 

#1. Making Home Modifications

Seniors are often vulnerable to several domestic accidents such as falling and mishandling domestic equipment. Thus, you may need to make modifications to your home. Sometimes they have poor vision. As such, they may need more lighting at home, fix-ins such as handrails to keep them stable while walking, and other tools that will help them get around more safely and easily. This may not be comfortable for other members of the home—especially kids.

#2. Less Privacy 

Getting to spend more time with your parents is great, but, everyone needs their privacy sometimes. Privacy can be tough when you have your parents around because they are always prying around. No matter how old you are, your parents will always see you as a kid. 

#3. More Medical Bills

As we age, our immune system becomes weaker. Therefore, there is a higher chance for you to fall sick. When you stay with a sick parent, your schedule may be shattered including your pocket. It gets worse if your parents have no health insurance or emergency funds.

Pros and Cons of Sending Parents to Senior Homes

Nursing homes

Nursing homes can be good or bad for you and your parents [Photo Credit: Nursing Home Abuse Center]

In the developed world, in sharp contrast to what is seen in African nations, it is customary for children to check their aging parents into nursing homes. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of this system. 

Pros of Checking Your Parents into Senior Homes

#1. Adequate Medical Care 

Nursing homes are staffed with medical professionals. This means that if your parents require 24/7 medical attention, they’ll always get the help they need. The staff in nursing homes can fulfill both medical and non-medical functions. Most times, you will be unable to cater to your parents’ needs due to a busy schedule. Getting others to do it isn’t a bad idea.

#2. Proper Facilities and A Secure Environment 

Another benefit of nursing homes is that they tend to be secure. If your parents have dementia, Parkinson’s, or Alzheimer’s disease and tend to wander, nursing homes ensure that they are safe. Nursing homes usually have facilities that make it suitable for the elderly to live in them, meaning that you do not have to worry about introducing new fittings or adjusting your lifestyle. 

#3. Social Opportunities 

At a nursing home, your elderly parents will have social opportunities they might not have in your home. Surrounded by peers in the same age group, some residents find it nice to have people their age to talk to. It’s common for people to feel more and more isolated as they get older, so this is a plus. 

Cons of Senior Homes

#1. Nursing Homes are Expensive 

Living in a nursing home is incredibly expensive, particularly for high-quality institutions. The costs of nursing homes can be financially crippling even for families that are fairly comfortable. In 2018, the average cost of a private room was $8,365, amounting to more than $100,000 per year. 

#2. Rigid Mode of Operation 

Nursing homes are also problematic because they don’t allow individuals as much independence as living at home. This can lead to your elderly parents feeling old and helpless. There are often fairly rigid schedules at nursing homes, which some seniors may find hard to cope with.

#3. Possibility of Substandard Care 

Another potential con of nursing homes is the possibility of poor care. There have been a number of nightmarish stories from nursing homes over the years including abuse and neglect. A recent example is the high death of seniors in nursing homes during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

#4. Family Isolation

When parents live in senior homes, they are denied the luxury of being with the people that really matter in their lives—their children. Their children can only visit on certain days and will not stay beyond certain hours. This can be a traumatic experience and a source of depression.

So, which is better?

Well, it all boils down to preference and what the parents want. While some parents don’t want to overburden their children, others need that family closeness. Perhaps, rather than making the decision for their parents, children should learn to discuss each option with them. We feel ensuring your parents are happy in their old age is the debt of gratitude we owe them.

Conclusion

As we gear up to celebrate Parents’ Day 2021, it is important that you celebrate your parents. They are our real heroes and deserve the very best we can give. Maybe you have not thought about it just yet. But, as your parents age, which options would you love for them? Would you prefer the live-in system or would you rather check them into a nursing home? Let us know what you think in the comments section. 

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