Offloading mum or dad

Peter Leith is 89 and describes himself as ‘half-deaf and half-blind’, but he has never been one to dwell on his challenges. Offloading mum or dad continues his series of true short stories and observations titled Aspects of Ageing.


Longevity demands that we face the reality of having to deal with a widow or widower parent. The desire to ‘find someone nice’ for mum or dad must be tempered with caution. 

Even the most reputable ‘parent-recycling agencies’, including those with religious affiliations, do not give money-back guarantees relating to gold-digger types. Such individuals may cause emotional pain to your parent – and also threaten your inheritance.

Transferring ‘ownership’ of a parent is easier if the person you put forward as a suitable ‘someone’ does not have property of his or her own – which might cause problems with who lives where.

If any successful applicant for the role of sharing the burden of your ageing parent has few family members or property ties of his or her own, so much the better. Sharing the inheritance within one family is hard enough!

Of course, you and your siblings may have a real problem if your parent pre-deceases the new partner.


This is one of a series of short stories in a growing collection called Aspects of Ageing.

Do you have a story or an observation for Peter? Send it to [email protected] and put ‘Sunday’ in the subject line.

Related articles:
Scots never forget

Going out with a … whimper
Bridging the generation gap