Children, family have much to contribute to the quality of life of aging parents

July 07, 2011

I appreciated Ann Egerton's commentary "Leaving home and heading for 'the home'" (July 5). My wife and I and our siblings wrestle with the issue of elder care, not only on behalf of our parents in their 80s and 90s but also thinking ahead to the decisions we will face ourselves.

I sympathize with Ms. Egerton's feeling of imposing on her children and encourage her to try to embrace their help. If she is at all like my mom, she has helped others her whole life — her children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, friends and strangers. We now want to give back. Please let us.

Let us take you shopping and out for coffee. Let us take you to appointments. Let us check in with you every day or so. Let us help with errands. Allow us to support you as much as you have supported us our entire lives.

Above all, let us get our children involved in your care so they can see what it's like to be family and take care of each other.

Whether the final stage in our lives is at home, in our children's homes, in assisted living or even in a full-fledged nursing home, let it not to be the "end of the road" but rather an affirmation of the love we have for each other.

Richard Thayer, Baltimore

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