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Asking My Children for Help


I feel as though my children have abandoned me. They are not helping me with the things that need taking care of, which is making it difficult for me to live alone. For instance, my driveway needs shoveling, the garbage needs to be hauled to the curb, I need help getting groceries, and projects around the house never get done.

I have three children that live nearby, but they never offer to help me. I understand that they are busy with their lives and their children’s lives. Maybe helping their father is just too much for them? How do I ask them for a bit of help? Do I ask them at all?


I suspect that your children are unaware of your need for assistance. They are likely seeing what has been accomplished, without consideration of how much effort or strain even simple tasks may put on you.

You see, when we do not live with our parents, we are not necessarily paying attention to the details. If your driveway is cleared somehow, they may not notice that it took you all week to accomplish or that you were in a great deal of pain for two days after completing the job. The same is true about hauling the trash to the curb. It may not be safe, or it may take you an hour, but the children just do not know about it.

It is time for a little strategy here. Create a plan that you are willing to execute if the children are not willing to support you living semi-independently in your home. You are creating this plan because it is time to be realistic. Plan either to spend from your savings/investments for the services you require and/or locate a condominium or apartment that eliminates the need for some of the care you need.

Now before you execute the plan you have established, explore how willing the children may be to assist you. Now is the time to be honest with the children. I know you said you feel "abandoned" by them, but try to see their side of things while avoiding such strong language with them. Don't be shocked if your children are surprised by your request. Take time to explain to them what you need. If there is no willingness to help out, then you already have your plan. If your children decide to help out, your plan is not a waste because you may need to live in an easier-to-manage situation at some point anyway. It is always best to do the research ahead of time and not after a medical crisis, which we see quite often in health care. It is better to be proactive in this situation than reactive.

I wish you the best on your journey.


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