It’s too bad that the news of older mothers living longer didn’t come out around Mother’s Day this year. Most older mothers who had to take care of kids up into their 50s would have probably enjoyed hearing they’d be able to enjoy the last half of their life without worrying about aging issues. We can only assume that based on new analysis showing mothers who have children in their 30s or 40s end up living longer, even if the children aren’t proven to live as long. While that might inspire a new generation to wait and have children until a decade or more into marriage, what disadvantages are there to having children when you’re older?
Arguably, having children in your 40s can end up giving the kids more worry about parental aging issues since the mother will be in her 70s by the time the kids are only in their 30s. This was the example with my own mother who was exactly 40 when I was born. She also lived long, though she passed away from breast cancer complications early last year at the age of 82, stunning my entire family. Had it not been for the cancer, there wasn’t a doubt she would have lived to 100, because she never looked her age.
During the cancer event, it led to considerable concern on my part, being an only child. And considering I’m not very old, I wondered about how many other younger kids with older mothers were going through the same thing and would be in the future. It’s a situation that nobody wants to think about, though it’s something to consider if we have a future generation who waits to have children late and puts their kids through illness much sooner than it should happen.
Much of this goes with the assumption that just because mothers live longer, it doesn’t consider future illnesses and the possible requirements of finding care for them. When the children of these parents reach their 30s, it’s always considered the prime of someone’s life when they don’t want to be dealing with parental illness. The same thing happened to me during a time when my writing career was starting to flourish with a fairly busy schedule. Being responsible for taking your mother to get constant medical care is not easy when you have considerable responsibilities. Fortunately, I had the advantage of working from home where it made it easier than working from an office.
Should there be a new consideration for this issue when it places a burden on younger children? Doing the math on what age the children should be when parental aging issues occur can also be a challenge.
How Young is Too Young, and How Old is Too Old?
With children in the prime of their careers through their 20’s, 30’s, and 40’s, it seems most children of aging parents end up being in their 50’s and 60’s when dealing the problem. While some will say that the children are the most stressed then because it’s in the final stretch of their working lives, some might think that the younger you are, the better in order to easier handle the stress. Because care for an aging parent can also become expensive, it arguably may be better if it happens when closer to retirement when the children have more money at their disposal.
Obviously, there isn’t any age that’s appropriate in dealing with parental aging and illness. Perhaps the worst of all is when your parents had you very young and you’re only 20 years apart from one another. If the children are already older, there’s a chance the parent and child could be dealing with aging issues both at the same time.
Time is going to tell how future parents will work things out and whether they consider the timing of ages when certain things happen in life. Having a plan worked out long in advance may also have to be the future of health care in the aging in America. This prevents going blind into the unknown of assuming you’ll live long without getting sick and placing heavy burdens on busy children for possibly years.