Men are from Mars, women are from Venus – this applies perfectly in my family too, as I’m positive it does in millions others.
Martians may not be heartless, but they could be lacking the empathy and efficiency needed while dealing with the sick and the old. As I have never seen or interacted with a Martian, let’s say these are intelligent guesses.
For me, somehow, it had just not been possible to think of and do many things for amma that my sister seemed to accomplish with ease.
Even though she came to India from the US only for a couple of weeks every two years, she was able to get a lot more comforts done for Amma – getting her hearing aids, getting her eyes and knees tested, buying useful household items that made amma’s life more comfortable, taking her around to meet close relations etc.
She did more for amma in these two weeks than I was able to in two years. It is possible that my sister being a nurse made her do some of these more efficiently than a typical daughter.
Whatever be the reason – planetary or professional – my sister’s visits did significantly improve amma’s overall quality of life.
Makes me wonder if ammas – especially those who are old – who have daughters should consider themselves fortunate.
Interestingly, a 2014 research paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association inferred that “Sons reduce their relative caregiving efforts when they have a sister, while daughters increase theirs when they have a brother.” 186
It appears that the only way sons will become better caregivers for their parents is when there’s no daughter in the picture!
Fig 56: Responsibility of sons and daughters: When a brother is present, a daughter (his sister) takes on more responsibility. That speaks volumes of men in general and sons in specific.