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I remember, as a brand new bride, my new mother in law grasping my arm before I even left the sanctuary. Smiling at me, she burbled, “I’m so glad he married you! Now I won’t ever have to be in a nursing home!”

My mother once informed me that, as the only daughter, I would be expected to move back across country when she was elderly and in need of care. “A son is a son until he takes a wife, a daughter is a daughter all of her life,” she quoted, ominously.

But my answer is still no. I will never, ever, provide home care. As someone in the so-called “Sandwich Generation” — those caught between the demands of child rearing and elder care — I refuse to be the filling.

The cold reality is that providing eldercare means putting an entire family’s life on hold. So many times, adult children are called “selfish” for not stepping up and offering to move in an elderly parent. I would suggest that someone is being selfish, but it’s not the adult children. It’s the parent.

Realistically, what does in-home elder care look like for the average family with children still at home? It looks like a nightmare.

When did a parent’s perspective change from, “I want my children to be fulfilled, successful and happy,” to, “I want my children to tend to my needs, and put those of everyone else on hold until I die.”?

Read more on xoJane.

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