How Old Is Too Old?

<p>At what age would you consider declining if you were asked to become guardians to a newborn and toddler, or would you accept the honor regardless of your age? What health circumstances might change that? Would your future retirement lifestyle factor in? What if you did not plan to retire for at least 10 more years?</p>


<p>Are you talking about ACTUALLY becoming the guardians? Or are you talking about being asked to be listed as guardians in a legal document? </p>

<p>I would say a big contributing factor would be your relationship with the person asking. There are relatives that I'd say yes to in a heartbeat because they're flesh and blood and if anything happened to trigger the reality of becoming the guardian, well we'd be heartbroken and want to do whatever is necessary.</p>

<p>Whether actual or theoretical, I wouldn't allow it now, and I'm 56.</p>

<p>I have a bad leg that makes it impossible for me to run. I also have trouble climbing stairs without using the rail. I am not physically capable of caring for a newborn or toddler, so I don't think I should accept custody of one.</p>

<p>The only ones I would even consider doing it for would be one of my Ds, but considering that I have 5 Ds, I would only be asked to share the responsibility with the four sisters. I'm too old. I don't think it's in the best interests of the baby or toddler, or of me!, to even consider becoming responsible for raising a child at my age. My husband and I were asked when we were in our mid-30s to be guardians for the two children of our closest friends. We accepted, and thankfully never had to step forward. At that age, it's manageable. At this age, it isn't and I wouldn't look at it as an honor.</p>

<p>RobD, ACTUALLY.</p>

At this age, it isn't and I wouldn't look at it as an honor.


<p>How would you view it?</p>

<p>Would your decisions change if you said yes 2+ years ago regarding the toddler, and are now asked the same question regarding a newborn? In other words, being 3 years older and having to be responsible for two children. What about if a third or fourth child came along? Where would you draw a line, if you had said yes initially to one child? When you have alzheimer's as in post #2?</p>

<p>Many factors to look at. I, as well as all of my siblings, have asked a sibling to be guardian in will. Would not have asked parent or in-laws due to age.</p>

<p>I can relate to this issue. It is complex, as orphaned children or those whose parents are both "unable to serve" have numerous needs. There are guardians who are prepared to have actual physical custody of the children if needed and there also could be other individuals who handle financial matters or have a voice in the raising of the children. </p>

<p>I would never accept a guardianship request unless I was prepared to see it through barring a circumstance unforeseen at the time of the agreement. If I did agree and could not honor it, I would let the parents know immediately. It is an extreme long shot that 2 capable parents would both be unable to raise their children, but if they need you it is beyond a serious commitment. I do think that taking on this job for toddlers in your fifties (even with great health) is a very big deal. In an ideal world, kids would be with members of their parents' generation, though many grandparents are raising grandchildren these days and it is sometimes for the best. I would be especially concerned for continuity of care for youngsters who by definition had already lost a set of parents. Age is no guarantee, but...</p>

<p>I find it hard to imagine being 70 plus and responsible day to day for a 15 year old, but that's just me. Given that young adults seem to benefit from parental support through college (in many forms), it is a long time frame. I would urge parents of young children to make these decisions in consultation with a lawyer and a financial advisor who can help ensure checks and balances. I think it is also important to let the "inner circle" of loved ones know what you would like them to offer if you were incapacitated. There are formal and informal aspects of this.</p>

<p>To be clear, my question is about physical custody.</p>

<p>NEM- am I reading this correctly that this is an issue of assuming custody "immediately"? If so, than the situation is known and I would go through an assessment of best options for the kids and then thoroughly consider my own family's situation. Retirement timing would be less important to me than how the kids would be cared for, what I felt was realistic for us to do and what the cost (emotional)of completely shifting life phase would be within myself and my family. We are empty nesters who have come to embrace the possibilities. </p>

<p>We have cared for elders and been the actual guardian of a relative's child, in addition to raising our own children. Guardianship can come with heavy complexities, especially if the parents are "somewhat" in the picture. While I would want to be a supportive person in the situation, my guess is I would opt out of guardianship with full time physical custody - in my mid fifties now.</p>

<p>northeastmom, I wouldn't view it as an honor, at my current age. It would be an enormous burden. As I said, we did accept the responsibility when we were in our 30s, when it would have been relatively easy to assimilate two more children into our already large family. However, at our age, it would be very difficult to readjust to the heavy physical and emotional demands of raising another family. I lead an active life but even I am exhausted after having my toddler granddaughter for a full single day, let alone total responsibility. Until she came along, I may have felt differently but now I remember how much work they are! I think we all tend to forget the demands of babies and young children. There's a reason you have kids when you're young. :)</p>

NEM- am I reading this correctly that this is an issue of assuming custody "immediately"?


<p>No, fortunately the parents are alive and well.</p>

<p>alwaysamom, thanks for clarifying. I do understand.</p>

<p>Unless your health drastically declined in the last 3 years, I think it would be hard to have accepted guardianship for one child but not a slightly younger sibling. How could you split them up?</p>

<p>^^That would be a dilemma. I do think that there is a difference in saying yes to one child. There wasn't a second child that existed at that point. To me, taking care of 2 young children is more than twice the amount of work.</p>

<p>I suppose that the parents can change guardianship while mentally all there in order to keep all children together. I do agree that splitting sibs up is terrible!</p>

<p>I would take my grandson (18 months) in a minute. I have a SIL who just adopted a baby and she and her husband are fifty. That baby will have much love and parents who are stable and financially sound. </p>

<p>I agree that a teen around in your 70's may be hard but it has been done before. You might be the best person to raise this child ( and hopefully won't have to).</p>

<p>I'm the much youngest sibling in a family, so we confronted this question in connection with our youngest child, who is 7 and 10 years younger than his siblings. There was absolutely no good answer. It would likely have been my sister who is in her early 60s and not in great health to take him, but that would have been an awful choice for many reasons, but the alternative would have been foster care because there simply is no one else. Thankfully, my D1 has now graduated from college and, while it would be miserable for her to be responsible for a tween, if my husband and I both died, she wouldn't let anyone else have him.</p>

<p>A girlfriend from HS just got married a couple of years ago for the first time and had her first baby (donor egg) at age 48 :eek: I cannot even imagine having the energy for that, but like I told her, I am already worn out by raising multiple kids through college graduation, had I not expended all that energy it might be conceivable (no pun intended)</p>