“A son is a son till he takes him a wife, a daughter is a daughter all of her life.”
This old Irish saying seems innocuous enough, but for some women among us it describes the very painful reality that makes up their daily life.
According to statistics cited by Laurel Kennedy, the author of The Daughter Trap, a book about women and eldercare, the average woman who takes care of her aging parent(s) is 60 years of age and working full time. At the same time, she is managing her own health while rapidly losing what little savings she has to make up for cost of living plus medical and prescription expenses for her mom and/or dad. Sometimes, she is still caring for her own children, who may even live at home. Most shockingly, she often has siblings nearby who take on little or none of the parental caretaking responsibilities.
Why? Why is this scene the reality for so many women? Much is a product of cultural expectations. Look at the name of Ms. Kennedy’s book, or re-read the “lighthearted” quote that begins this blog entry. While we cannot do anything to change the way women are regarded by our culture overnight, I urge any women who are living in this painful situation to make the time to contact me for an in-person meeting. Let me help you lighten your load by creating workable, realistic solutions for your personal situation. For while it may sound like these women all live the same burdened lifestyles, I assure you that every single case is unique and has its own intricacies. Let me help you find your personal solutions. I am here to help.
All my best,
[Rabbi Scott Saulson, Ph.D.]