providing care to an elderly parent who abused you as a child increases your risk of depression and can have a long-term impact on your mental health. depressed man sitting head in hands on the bed in the dark bedroom with low light environment, dramatic concept

Who could condemn someone for staying far away from a parent, even an ailing or dying parent, who mistreated him or her as a child?

We know relatively little about how many adults become caregivers for abusive or neglectful parents, or about why they choose to — or not to. But thanks to a recent study, we can see that those who report having endured childhood maltreatment are more vulnerable than other caregivers to depression when tending to their abusive parents.

Years later, “they are still affected. They’re more depressed.”

The rest of us are hardly in a position to judge those who walk away. But our society’s overreliance on unpaid family caregiving can make that difficult to do. As Dr. Moorman pointed out, “Not only nice people get old.”

Read more in the New York Times.

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