By John Kariuki
In the popular local television series, Mother- In-Law, the ageing main character brings out things that anybody would see or experience with ageing parents!
The mother in-law often meddles in her children’s affairs. She steps on everybody’s toes. From deciding the schools that her grandchildren should attend, who should befriend who, to “sorting out” her son’s wives, she makes a bold statement on the acknowledged problem of ageing parents!
Often, some ageing parents retire from money responsibilities and load everything on to their children, even when they still have energy to work. They never factor in their monthly pensions and other income in their financial obligations.
Instead, they squander their income on pursuits like attending all social functions in their vicinity with their children making up for their permanent shortfall and numerous mistakes.
These may include footing the bills for farming, medical care, maintaining their houses and so on. Apparently, any money given to the parents goes to the latest social events and church functions, irrespective of the urgency of the personal priorities for which the funds were solicited for in the first place!
While African customs counsel of an unflinching obedience and loyalty to one’s parents, the harsh economic reality makes it imperative to revise such tenets.
All working people should be careful lest all their hard earned cash is lost to the ageing parents’ whimsical demands. Everybody must learn tact in putting forward his or her case and declining some incessant and unsustainable money requests.
Edgar Kiriro, a school teacher in Nyandarua County, says his parents applauded when he was employed. They would make little financial demands on him till the day his father retired from the civil service.
“Everything changed overnight and I found myself sending them a monthly upkeep of Sh5,000 while my father sought his pension,” Kiriro tells Shillings &Sense.