Stepfamily Issues

Personal stories about stepfamilies, childhood and general family issues.

May 21, 2009

Elderly parents and only children

Vesta is 52, single and childless, and an only child. She has spent her entire adult life living at home and taking care of parents who were both in their 40s when they had her, and now that they have passed on she is very afraid of growing old alone and having nobody to take care of her in her final years.

When asked whether she ever thought her parents were selfish to have only one child, and so late in life, dooming her to becoming their sole caregiver at a very early age and denying her the chance to marry and have children of her own to take care of her in old age, Vesta smiles.

“Of course I’ve thought about things like that, I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t but I have no regrets. I never really met any man I wanted to marry. What I miss most, though, is not having a sister or brother.”

“I wouldn’t have had children just to become my caregiver, and I would hate to think that my parents had me for that purpose,” explains Vesta. ”If I had a sister or a brother I wouldn’t worry about old age or dying alone, but because that wasn’t to be part of my life script then I must muddle on as best I can on my own and hope that when my time comes it is swift and painless.”

“I inherited the family home and that’s just about all I have to see me through to old age,” says Vesta. “My job doesn’t pay much and what savings I had all went on paying for extra things for mom and dad when their own savings ran out.”

“The house is very run down and even if I wanted to sell it, which I don’t, nobody would buy it in today’s market,” sighs Vesta. “I just hope it keeps on standing until my time comes!”

“Financially, I suppose I am a lot better off than most people,” says Vesta, “and I even live close to everything I will need in old age, such as medical facilities and supermarkets – but there’s still that gnawing feeling inside of me that there is nobody out there who will be by my side as I age, and hold my hand when I die.”

Read more of Vesta's story:

  • euthanasia solves aging and dying alone?

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