Cases of elderly parents being abandoned by their adult child seem to occur in so
In some instances, if they are not totally abandoned, elderly parents are left in
senior citizens’ homes.
The children pay for their care and maintenance but that’s about all they do.
In other cases, parents are totally abandoned, and social organizations take on the
responsibility of caring for the aged folks.
I have visited old folks’ homes in the past.
Some of them are well-maintained and the senior citizens there are well cared for.
However, in all the homes, what struck me most was the tinge of sadness on the
face of almost every resident.
No one looked really happy.
Many had a hurt, bewildered look on their faces.
Many longed to be back “home”, even if the home of their past held no comfort or
peace. They just wanted to be in the surroundings they had spent decades in.
Even if mistreated, they wanted to be in familiar surroundings.
Lorrie Baker Suggs who has started an online support group in US for abandoned
parents, stated, “You do not have to be a bad parent or an elderly parent to be
abandoned by your adult children. I know many great parents to which it has
happened and they are living their worst nightmare.”
Suggs added, “When abandoned parents try to reconcile with their children, their
attempts are often met with indifference or silence, or they are threatened with
legal action. At best, they receive silence, and at worst, they are slandered by their
adult children. I have seen many instances of both extremes. I have seen their
heartbreak written on their faces.”
I have seen that heartbreak too and, for want of a better expression, it broke my
heart and left me feeling helpless because, as much as I wanted to, I couldn’t do
anything to help them.
Allow me to digress a little.
Watched a Malayalam TV program last night.
It was Kathayallithu Jeevitham, a program in which people brought their problems
to a panel which included a judge, an attorney and a social service worker.
The panel and Vidhubala, the host of the show, would then listen to concerns of the
person who had approached them for a solution. Others who were involved in
the case would also be called forth to express their views and concerns on the
The problems could be centered on a whole range of issues from marital discord, to
person-missing case to dispute over property or money matters.
There would be a different set of people in the panel in each new case.
As for family issues due to a spouse cheating on another, almost always, the panel
and host would often state that the mobile phone and its features like WhatsApp,
are to be blamed mainly for the breakups.
That does seem to be a real cause because I have observed in several episodes,
ladies would respond to missed calls or to unknown numbers and then gradually
begin a series of conversations and texts that would lead to affairs and eventually,
to the destruction of families.
Here in the USA and also in Singapore, for fear of scams, people don’t answer calls
from unknown numbers. Often, phones show a “probable scam” when a call arrives
from an unknown number.
This makes me wonder why some women in India respond to late-night calls
from unknown persons.
Could it be that they are bored and want someone to speak with?
This could be a probable reason in the cases of wives whose husbands are away,
working in the Middle East.
In any case, rather than speculate on this, allow me to get back to matters related to
the topic of this blog.
It is a fact that in some families, parents, during their lifetime, have bequeathed all
their properties and life time savings to their children.
Many of these parents had spent their lives caring for their children.
Well, some children appreciate that and shower their parents with sincere love.
On the other hand, it is also true that some have taken all they could from their
parents and kicked them out, leaving them literally penniless and helpless.
This is where what I had heard in Kathayallithu Jeevitham comes in.
At the end of each episode, each member of the panel gives his/her comments.
In one episode, one of them said,
“Times have changed. Most children are well educated and are well-placed, often
in high-paying jobs. They have the means and are fully capable of fending for
themselves without financial help from their parents.
This is something that parents have to keep in mind.
Since their children are well off, parents should keep their life savings for
themselves and spend it on leading the happy, comfortable life that they so richly
deserve in their old age.
If they want to bequeath their savings and property to their children, they should
ensure the transfer happens only after their lifetime.
This way, they can live their life with dignity without the fear of being thrown out
of their home and being left penniless on the streets.”
I think this is very wise advice.
Far from being heartless, it helps parents to be practical and ensure the golden
years of their life are spent without anxiety and worry.
Now if you think this is carrying things a bit too far, let me assure you, it is not.
Grabbing everything they could from their parents and throwing them out like
garbage is a very real happening, one that has been re-enacted many a time in
Suggs words about caring for parents should hit every adult.………
“Abandoning them would be akin to cutting off one of my legs.
They are the reason I have my life …........”