Once upon a time extended families lived together.

The “maiden aunt” helped out, looking after babies and young children, often preparing delicious meals – which was a tremendous asset to any family. Mum and dad could go to work, enjoy their sports and social activities knowing the children and in fact the whole household was cared for.

These days, children often leave the family early – living in a shared student accommodation, living with friends or in an apartment on their own.

And so we face the question as mum and dad grow old: What do we do about Mum and Dad?

So we gather together the family clan and this question is asked. The answer in many cases is, what about a retirement village?

These come in many shapes and sizes. Some provide simply, accommodation. These can be single units, double units and freestanding cottages. Others also provide numerous activities to give residents a reason to live. Many years ago, I and a colleague were appointed by the Federal Government to go unannounced to nursing homes and assess the whole situation for example accommodation, food, activities, staff performance and caring procedures. There was a range of Government standards that had to be met. If they continually refuse to meet the standards they would be in danger of being closed down. Such regulations still apply today.

The fact is that mum and dad are often safely cared for and in general can be said to live fulfilling lives. However, it is still up to the children to keep in touch, and visit their parents and take them for outings and for a change of scenery and where possible on holidays.

In this modern society we must not forget to care.

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