Caring for the Elderly

In many countries, the elderly are the fastest growing population. Is it a child's responsibility to care for his or her aging parent? We will discuss the use of nursing homes.

Pre-Reading Questions

  1. Is the population of senior citizens getting bigger or smaller in your country?
  2. What are the advantages of people living to an older age?
  3. What are the disadvantages of people living longer?
  4. Do you think that the quality of life is better now than it was fifty years ago?
  5. How are most elderly people taken care of in your community?

Vocabulary Preview

  • nursing home: special hospital where older people live until they die
  • parent-sitter: a person who takes care of one or both of their parents
  • guilty: feeling that one has done something wrong
  • Alzheimer’s: disease that causes a person to lose their memory and ability to move
  • diet: the usual food and drink that a person consumes
  • blindness: being unable to see
  • middle-aged: people who are between the ages of 40-60
  • duty: a responsibility or obligation
  • ashamed: feeling bad about something that one has done
  • elderly: older people

Practice these new words here: Vocabulary: Caring for the Elderly

Caring for the Elderly

  1. The elderly are becoming the fastest growing population in Canada. The improvements in health care and diet are helping people to have longer and better lives. Sometimes senior citizens are able to live normal lives and care for themselves until a very old age - but as most people age - they need care takers at some point. As a result, more middle-aged adults are responsible for taking care of their aging parents. These people are often called “parent-sitters”.
  2. Parent-sitters often have their elderly parents move in with them. The parent-sitters usually have busy lives raising their own children, going to school or going to full-time jobs. It is especially difficult to take care of a parent when they are ill with diseases, such as blindness, Alzheimer’s or arthritis.
  3. Sometimes a parent-sitter will decide to put a parent in a nursing home, especially if the parent becomes very ill and requires 24-hour care. This decision is very difficult and often leaves the child feeling guilty and ashamed for not taking care of the parent at home. Many people feel it is the young person’s duty to take care of their elder family member.
  4. Nowadays, people are living much longer, often into their 90s, so it is sometimes not possible for family members to care of these people at home. The choice of caring for aging parents at home or putting them in a nursing home has become a very difficult one.

Post Reading Questions

  1. Do you think it is wrong to put a parent into a nursing home?
  2. Who is responsible for caring for the elderly?
  3. Do you think that only the oldest child in a family is responsible for caring for the elderly parent?
  4. Should an elderly parent be put in a nursing home?
  5. What do you think is the best way to care for the elderly?
  6. Do you think that it is better that people are living longer lives?

Additional Resources