Friday, May 29, 2020
On occasion, I have created what I call a "Filial Friday" post, where I write about attempts to use "filial support laws" to compel family members, usually adult children, to pay for the costs of nursing home care. These cases sometimes arise in the U.S., or foreign countries, or in "reverse" circumstances, where the elderly parent is the target of a suit for long-term care of a disabled child. Pennsylvania has played an important role in this episodic history, in part because of language added to Pennsylvania's colonial era statute that was interpreted by the courts as giving standing to nursing homes to bring direct suits against family members.
But, during the last few weeks of Covid-19-related lockdowns, I've noticed a sharp contrast with the troublesome filial support law cases. I've seen (and happily become part of) what I would call a "neighborhood movement." For example, one of my neighbors, Marci, who, like many of us, is currently working full time from home, has more or less adopted one of our more elderly neighbors. The elderly neighbor doesn't have children of her own and she's had some recent health issues. Marci checks up on her regularly, does grocery shopping for her, prepares and delivers occasional meals, takes the cat to the vet, and more. No one asked her to do this!
I've seen other examples, including informal "teams" of neighbors organizing to help older individuals who don't have local family members to provide help. Its great to see -- and I know, I also feel more connected to my own distant family when I can help someone locally. A "two-fer," as they say.
So, here's wishing you a very Happy Filial Friday -- of a different sort.