Taking Care of Elderly Step Parents

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Mum

“Anticipating that stepchildren will take care of elderly stepparents is an illogical assumption when our laws and policies do not provide full kinship status to the stepparent and stepchild relationship.”

I wanted to write this post because of an incident I saw in a blog.  The situation was the kids father had re-married and when he died they pretty much asked the eighty plus year old step mother to leave the premises.  So at this age, with her husband gone, she has no where to live if someone does not intervene.

 

Now I am not sure what kind of relationship she had with the kids but I ask the question does it really matter based on her age?  Is it that they could not find a better solution to this situation than putting this woman out on the street?  I am sure she does not need an entire house at this age so why not allow her to remain there until she dies? The lady was eighty something so how cold would I have to be to do that?

University of Missouri researchers found that relationship quality, a history of mutual help and the availability of resources influence decisions about who cares for aging parents and stepparents.

“The idea that family obligations are based on genetic ties is not true for most Americans,” Lawrence Ganong, a professor and co-chair in the human development and family studies department, said in a university news release.

 

Step Parents

 

Which brings me to these questions.

  1. What obligations, if any, do we have to elderly step-parents after the death of one spouse?
  2. Should persons in these kind of relationships make the necessary preparations to avoid incidences like this one?
  3. How much can be done in the way of protection and should there be more done with regards to the laws that protect elderly step-parents?

 

Resources

National Stepfamily Resource Center.  Retrieved from 

Step children may step up to help elderly parents.  Retrieved from


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45 Responses

  1. Esme Sy says:

    This is sad. If this happened to my family, I would ask her to stay with my family.

  2. Rosey says:

    I can’t imagine turning someone out who is 80. I’ve heard of such things though. 🙁

  3. So sorry to hear about this but i think it all depends. Every case is different but in general, I dont think the children (or step children) should be legally obligated to take care of parents (step parents) because i have hear about a few cases where the parents are very mean with the kids through their childhood. But good topic to think about.

    • It is not really up to the kids to take care of step-parents per se Ana….the husband should have made the necessary provisions for his wife after his death since she is not the mother of the kids. At the very least she should be allowed to keep living in the house until she died.

  4. atkokosplace says:

    This article makes me so sad. It’s good for everyone to read and know. I would never do this to someone related or not. Some people can be so cruel. But really, one should be accountable for ones self and make sure one is taken care of, especially in a “step” position. But sadly this happens to blood related too. As for myself I know my kid would take care of me if I couldn’t, but also I’ve taken the steps that she wouldn’t be out of money to do so either. Great thinking article.

  5. Step parents or not, they have had a hand in looking after you, caring for you so why would you not want to repay them and look after them when they are no longer able. I wouldn’t put anyone into a home – no one deserves that!

  6. Were I still married, I have no doubt that my step children would have put me in the same situation. As for my step mom, we’d never in a million years do that to her. She is a part of our lives, a good part at that.

  7. Its important to value relationships more than things and remember that what goes around comes around!

  8. Amy Jones says:

    I always try to treat people the way i would like to be treated when im older this a really sad event but im really glad you share that with us

  9. Neha says:

    This is really sad. But , am glad you shared it with all of us. Thank you for this.

  10. Laurie says:

    That sounds like such a sad story. I also actually made me wonder about a family I know. Their elderly father remarried last year to a woman they know little to nothing about. Makes me think what would/will happen if he passes first.

  11. Sargas says:

    I have a grand mother she’s 88 years old going 89 this coming March 17. After reading this article I cant wait to visit and celebrate her birthday together.

  12. Ana De-Jesus says:

    Treat others like you want to be treated is my motto and I would never leave someone, especially at that age to be homeless regardless of whether they are biological or not.

  13. Amber says:

    This is so sad. This hits a bit close to home I guess coming from myself who is only a step parent I would be so heart broken if my step son did something like that to me. I guess it really just comes down to speaking openly about what your wishes are for one another if the other passes and letting your children know as well.

  14. Elizabeth O. says:

    First of all, what kind of man would marry a woman and ask her to leave once he dies? That’s really unreasonable, it’s like he didn’t even have love for his wife. I think it would still be the children’s obligation but that still depends on their relationship with the step parent. Such a complicated life, if only they had compassion for each other.

    • Elizabeth the husband had nothing to do with it. I guess he expected the kids to allow her to live there at least until she died or other arrangements were made. Goes to show that you cannot assume anything and that it is necessary to put things in place for when you are gone

  15. Step parent should also be treated as a real family too. They need to take care. It so sad.

  16. This is such an emotional subject for me. You have a great post here with many good tips

  17. This is sad. I think it is more than step parents. There are in-law situations that are similar. They should be taken care of. Those things ought to be discussed with the living and not assumed. Most people do not like to talk about death so these issues miss much needed planning

  18. pastorpete51 says:

    The sadness of the situation is that they children never learned the respect and responsibility part of loving this elderly step-mother. The nursing home where I visit regularly has many similar stories. No amount of legislation can re-make the relationships there. If they were forced to care for her needs, imagine the quality of life for this woman. We would hope there are friends, or other family members who can intervene. Only God truly knows the hearts. Thank you for sharing

  19. #2. That is my answer. We must learn to take responsibility for ourselves. The onus is on the couple – in this case the father and the stepmother – to have sorted out their business legally. I am afraid to say that too many people leave this very important and sensitive matter to the goodness of children’s heart. I am not of that school of thought. My child owes me no obligation worse yet step-children. I might be the lone voice here on this but we ALL need to take responsibility for our lives when we can. I tell my daughter all the time, if I win the lottery I probably will give her a few dollars only after I have sorted out myself completely as possible. Very, very interesting conversation this one.

    • Claudette you are not alone..Too many women leave their financial stuff to their husbands, Especially in a step situation this should have been clearly stated that she lives in the house until she dies. I would not do that but some kids go crazy when money and land is involved and you never know what will happen once you are gone

  20. Debbie Denny says:

    Step-paThey always should be taken care of. Sad to know this happens

  21. Robin Rue (@massholemommy) says:

    That poor woman. I can’t even imagine. Step parents are just as important and should be treated as such.

  22. @fitone says:

    This is so sad. My heart goes out to seniors! Many find themselves unable to take care of themselves, unable to afford medications, uncertain of their future. Some worry about where they will live andwho will take care of them.

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