Are we care-givers or care-takers ?

Care-givers are people who spend their time taking care of others - and care-takers in this context are individuals who are recipients of the concern and care from others. A bit different from the normal connotations of these words, but this does make more sense doesn't it?

They took care of us - and today we miss that care and concern

As we get older our responsibilities seem to increase. When the children are young, we keep waiting for them to grow up so that we no longer feel responsible for every action of theirs. But as we and they grow older we realize that worrying about them and thinking that all their problems have to be solved by us has just become a habit. We constantly think of ourselves as care givers - giving care, taking care of children and grandchildren and parents and everyone else around us.

Is this just a habit?

For me this is definitely true - I am just one of those people who loves to organise everyone's lives. Do this, do it this way and let me help you do it - just come naturally to me. But, now having become much older I have learnt with immense difficulty that I need to step back and offer advice and help only when it is asked for. 

Someday they will have to play the role of parents - we hope we taught them well

Hence the question in my mind - at what point do we become more care-takers and less care-givers. At what point have I taken over my mother's life? When did she cease to become the master of her own decisions? When did our children take over their own lives and when did we begin to take a seat on the sidelines.

This is a natural corollary of life. The world has moved like this for generations, as you grow older you hand over the reigns to the next generation.

The problem is that we are reluctant to do this. We do not think that the children are capable of making their own decision, we do not think that they know better than us as to how to handle their problems, and above all we do not accept the fact that the roles have now been reversed.

As parents and as older people we have to learn how to accept their concerns and care for us. They do their best to look after us, but to talk about how children no longer care is wrong. They do care - they just have too much on their plates. They do worry about us but do not keep talking about it. When we need them they will be there - as long as we do not keep making extraordinary demands on their time.

Four generations

This is the reason why I feel that as parents we now need to accept our role as care-takers most of the time and as people who are care-givers less and less. Once we have mastered this knowledge, life will become less stressful and we will no longer look at our children or our friends or the younger people around us with a jaundiced eye. We will understand them better and they will love us more for not interfering in their lives.

It is not easy - but once we become senior citizens we have to move to the other side slowly but surely. Enjoy this reversal of roles - and be thankful that there is someone who is willing to take care!


Popular posts from this blog



In memory of a very dear friend - SUNITEE SONDHI