Dear SOS: I have three brothers, all married, and well settled with children. I too am married and have small children. My one brother lives in England and two live here in Surrey.
Upon arriving in Canada, we, me, my older brother and our parents all lived with my oldest brother and his wife who sponsored for us. Three years after arriving here I got married and went to live with my in-laws. Shortly after that my older brother got married. My sister-in-laws couldn’t get along with each other so my brothers decided to live separately.
My parents were who living with the oldest brother started dividing their time between the two houses. My oldest sister-in-law was upset that my mom couldn’t be around all the time at her house because my mom used to do all the cooking, cleaning and looking after their young kids while both of them worked. It was then decided that the parents will live with the oldest brother. Then my other brother had kids and they needed someone to look after the kids and our family had a big issue. My middle sibling and his wife said parents had obligation to help them out too. Then my parents, mom and dad started dividing their time between the two houses and looking after the kids.
Mom spent most of her time cooking and cleaning and looking after both households. Some time later my older brother sponsored for his in-laws and soon as they arrived my sister-in-law no longer wanted my parents to come there. That really hurt my parents. Three four years after that, my oldest brother’s kids became teens and in the meantime their grandma came to live with them and same problem happened all over. My sister-in-law didn’t need my parents anymore so she started making them very uncomfortable. I feel so bad for my parents. Today they don’t feel needed or welcomed in either of their sons’ houses. My brother in England is married to a white girl and she doesn’t believe in living with anyone other than her husband and their child.
I wish I could take my parents to my home but I live with my in-laws and there just isn’t any space in the house as my in-laws, brother-in-law, sister-in-law and our kids all live together. I don’t know what to do and I feel so bad for my parents. In India my parents were very well off. They sold their house and property in India and gave the money to all three of their sons so that they could buy their houses here.
My parents get old age pension but one brother takes one person’s pension and the other brother takes the other person’s pension. They feel helpless and I feel helpless. I just don’t know what to do.
Helpless in Surrey
Dear Helpless in Surrey: Your parents story is very sad but it’s very common here in British Columbia. I have heard so many stories like your family’s. Here in Canada the amount of abuse of seniors is increasing but most of the incidents are silently suffered by the seniors, the story rarely gets out. You need to help your parents, even if you can’t take them to live in your home. You need to help your parents understand that they don’t need to live this kind of life.
First of all tell them not to give their pension to anyone. That’s for them and their living expenses. If their sons and daughter-in-laws don’t want them in the house then they can either rent one of the son’s basement and move in there and pay them the rent or get a basement suite some where else.
If that doesn’t work then you can get them a basement suite near your home so that they are close by and you can help them with whatever they need. There are solutions, you just need to look for those solutions. In the meantime help your parents to understand how necessary it is that they not take this kind of abuse. Good Luck.