Note to Our Older Adult Children

"But Life" image by Audrey N. Glickman, used with permission.
"But Life" image by Audrey N. Glickman, used with permission.

Note to our older adult children: we love you to pieces, and even though we might one day become a big burden on you, that does not mean that you are the be-all and end-all of our lives.

We have created lives for ourselves besides being your parents and besides the delight of being your children’s grandparents.  We have friends and colleagues, associations and organizations, cultural goings-on, sports, parks, and our favorite neighborhoods and restaurants and businesses.  We have places we go, and we want to keep on going there.  Regardless of how incapacitated we are becoming, we want to persist until we are gone.  Children, listen up!

Not all of us want to be taken away in our dotage to some foreign place, stuck in a home, and visited only by you. Some of us would like to remain with the people we know and love.  It is especially egregious for you to take such action when it financially benefits you.  It is even worse if you take it upon yourselves to brainwash us against our prior lives to make it easier on you.

In the case of your own financial benefit, we can’t understand the difference between it being good for family relations and it being good for your pocketbook.  We cannot know your intentions, we can only guess.  We believe we raised you to be altruistic, but we do not know what life has done to you since.  We choose to look at it as our pocketbook seeming to be of primary importance to you.  Maybe that isn’t the way you are looking at it when you take us away, and we don’t know what the rest of the world will say, but what other reason could you have for taking such action against our wishes if not for your own financial gain?

We assert that we are allowed to enjoy ourselves, regardless the risk.  If we want to play tennis at age 95, we don’t care what you think.  We have spent our lives taking risks, and what better time than now, when we are set to decline anyway?

Moreover, we are allowed to have friends, even as they are disappearing at a frightening pace.  We are allowed to love others.  This is not a contest, and even if you look at it that way, your being our progeny does not mean that you automatically win and we love you more, or want to be with you more.

A year ago you were calling us once every couple weeks and talking about yourselves and your children.  You asked nothing about our lives.  Now suddenly you have retired and you see us as a problem to be solved.

And your solution is to impose your will.

You make us sorry we gave you power of attorney.  We never should have handed it to you until there was nothing left of us.  We now realize that giving you leave to take as much of our money as you wanted – because we really don’t care about money except being able to live consistently as we wish – was a bit too much power to give out.  That power gave you leave to feel that you owned us.

The power said you can surveil our communications, scrutinize our bills and our lifestyles.  The power said you can have our money as long as you share with your siblings.  The power said you could have us declared insane and incapable of ever caring for ourselves again, and all our doctors, lawyers, and bankers had to listen to that declaration.

That power said you could take away our lives, sell our home, keep the proceeds, cut off all of our communication with everyone we know, and do it all with impunity.  And the public opinion, because you are our children, would be in your favor.

And so you will destroy our lives and leave our friends and associates with holes in their existence where we used to be.

We are here to tell you it is wrong.  Even if you will not listen, even if you think that you know better, no matter how many stories you make up to show how noble you are.  Those we have left behind know what you have done.  May they stop their children from doing the same.

About the Author
Author of POCKETS: The Problem with Society Is in Women's Clothing (www.AudreyGlickman.com), Audrey N. Glickman is a rabbi’s assistant, with prior experience in nonprofits, government, advertising, and as a legal secretary. A native Pittsburgher, Audrey has served on many boards, organizations, and committees, advocating for many causes, including equal rights, secure recountable voting, preserving the earth, good government, improving institutions, and understanding and tending to our fellow human beings.
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