Discuss how gender has influenced who is the primary caretaker of an aging parent. Do you think that this gender effect leads to a social problem? Why or why not?
Aging, as we all know is an inevitable process of human existence. The social structure of a family unit varies according to economic stature and culture, wherein it is composed of the parent and their offspring. A family unit can also be further characterized by either the presence or the addition of another family member categorized as extended, living together or otherwise. The most common occurrence of an extended family member is usually referred to as the elder member, often the grandparent/s.
When this occur, the care of this elder member usually falls into the hands of the children, who are able enough and duty bound to take care of them. Oftentimes, when their immediate offspring is constrained with other responsibilities that render them incapable of attending to their aging parent, the adult grandchildren are left to this task. Thus, the question that this research paper attempts to answer how gender influences the decision on who will take care of the aging parent.
When a child is born into this world, the provision of care to that child becomes the sole priority of the parents until such time that the child is able enough to independently take care of himself to eventually become another parent to another family unit. This becomes a cycle, even though constraints may enable the parents to function as one – thus becoming a single parent. When the children grow up and start their own family, most of the time, the grandparents become involve with the care of their grandparents, and oppositely; when the grandparents gets sick, it is often the children who are tasked with the provision of primary care.
The aging parents then are supposed to be under the care of their immediate offspring, however, this is not often permitted in most American family structure, because the second generations are mostly wrapped with the responsibility of rearing their immediate offspring. They are either are too busy with work in order to support their family needs, or they simply are financially unable to do be physically available to care for their aging parent/s. As a consequence, most aging parents are send to home or aged institution who has the utmost capacity to see to it these aging parents are attended to, health-wise. As a consequence, more and more aging individuals are scattered to different institution outside home, as they are better taken cared for, depending on the nature of their case.
Psychology dictates that most women-parent, i.e., the mothers; would want to take care of their own parent/s. But what if she is a single parent, who has to work, to support the children-being a single mom? This situation would very much demand a lot of her time, and poses a risk of neglect either to her own children or the parent, either way, it would still be detrimental. This is among the many factors to consider, when deciding on who takes care of the aging parent, which most of the time resort to a most convenient solution – an institution (Smyer. 1984). This posses a social concern because while the adult children are expected to care for the aging parents, the adult children would want to pursue his or her own responsibilities in life, thus increasing the likelihood for an increase in health personnel to man the institution which would house these aging parents. While this would demand for financial support from the adult child who opt for institutionalizing his aged parent, this would likewise equally demand for better federal or government support as more budget would be required to run government facilities since privately funded institutions for the aged are scarce and require far expensive pay than the former.
Otherwise, if the adult child would opt to take care of the aging parent, amidst his or her responsibilities to his or her own family, the tendency for neglect would be high, since we all know that caring for an aging parent would require more time due to the nature of their health, decreasing the time they ought to devote with their children (Mancini & Blieszner. 1989). Child rearing would then render ineffective, causing the children to suffer since ineffective parenting results to ineffective characteristics in growing child – thus explaining juvenile delinquency probably due to lack of parental supervision.
I believe that this is a social problem simply because parents are required to spend quality time with their children, and when this is hindered because of the need to take care of their aging parents, there is a justifiable and irreversible reason why more and more violent related acts are being committed by the younger generations. If the adult child sends the aging parents to an institution, the prevalence of this decision, would eventually affect the ratio between health care professionals and aging patient since the number of aging population is now increasing.
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