How worried are you about your parents?

Many of us worry about what may happen when and if our parents become infirm and dependent on our assistance. Researchers call this "filial anxiety." According to research, moderate levels of anxiety can lead to stronger motivation for caregiving, while extreme levels of anxiety can lead to the avoidance of caregiving.

To get an idea of your own level of filial anxiety, take the following quiz, developed by leading psychologists. Read each statement and indicate how frequently you feel that way, using these measures: always, often, once in a while, never. A scoring section follows.

  1. I worry that a time will come when I’ll have to help my parents.

  2. I am afraid that my parents will need more care than I can give.

  3. I want to help my parents, but I worry about what will happen to my own life.

  • I’m afraid that helping my parents will be a drain on my financial resources.

  • I feel I should keep in almost constant touch with my parents to be sure nothing is wrong.

  • It would upset me to see my parents in need of anything in their old age.

  • I just can’t stand the thought of my parents being sick foa long period of time.

  • Scoring: If you indicated "often" or "always" for three or more of the statements, filial anxiety may be a significant factor in your life. Now look to see which of these seven thoughts run through your mind most frequently. If they fall most often among the first four, you are probably feeling more anxiety over your parents’ welfare.

    The remedies for high filial anxiety, say psychologists, are self-education and openness to the parent-child relationship. Their advice? Learn about aging, caregiving and the resources that are available to help you. In addition, talk to your parents about your concerns, share information with them and plan together.<!–

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