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This is an IELTS writing task 2 sample answer essay on the topic of looking after family from the real IELTS exam.

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Dave

IELTS Essay: Looking after Family

Some believe that younger family members should be legally responsible for supporting older family members when they become physically, mentally and financially unable to look after themselves.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

There have been recent proposals for laws that would require younger generations to look after older family members when they are no longer capable of doing so themselves. In my opinion, these laws are ethically responsible yet should not be enacted considering the many circumstances they fail to take into account.

Supporters argue elderly care is a basic responsibility. As parents age, there is a near absolute chance they will have some combination of physical, mental, or financial difficulties. Since most older people are unable to work full-time jobs, the duty of care naturally falls to either the state or their families. The government has other concerns and their care is impersonal, as in the case of a state-funded nursing home. Children, who have an obligation to their original care-givers, are in much better positions to provide loving support. This could include living with them, supplying money, or helping them with medical bills.

However, this discounts the many contexts in which this care may not be appropriate. Many parents do not want to be a burden to their children and would rather look after themselves later in life. Others may not have been there for their children, or even been abusive. Moreover, the help that children offer will likely hinder their own progress in life. If they are wealthy, this is not a major concern as they can hire someone to look after their parents and the financial support will not be a burden. However, most working class families will struggle to advance socially when slowed by a duty of care for elderly parents, especially if this includes expensive medical bills.

In conclusion, despite the moral justifications, there are simply too many situations where these laws would result in injustices and inconveniences. Individuals should be given the opportunity to look after themselves.

Analysis

1. There have been recent proposals for laws that would require younger generations to look after older family members when they are no longer capable of doing so themselves. 2. In my opinion, these laws are ethically responsible yet should not be enacted considering the many circumstances they fail to take into account.

  1. Paraphrase the overall essay topic.
  2. Write a clear opinion. Read more about introductions here.

1. Supporters argue elderly care is a basic responsibility. 2. As parents age, there is a near absolute chance they will have some combination of physical, mental, or financial difficulties. 3. Since most older people are unable to work full-time jobs, the duty of care naturally falls to either the state or their families. 4. The government has other concerns and their care is impersonal, as in the case of a state-funded nursing home. 5. Children, who have an obligation to their original care-givers, are in much better positions to provide loving support. 6. This could include living with them, supplying money, or helping them with medical bills.

  1. Write a topic sentence with a clear main idea at the end.
  2. Explain your main idea.
  3. Develop it with specific or hypothetical examples.
  4. Keep developing it fully.
  5. Vary long and short sentences.
  6. Conclude with more detail.

1. However, this discounts the many contexts in which this care may not be appropriate. 2. Many parents do not want to be a burden to their children and would rather look after themselves later in life. 3. Others may not have been there for their children, or even been abusive. 4. Moreover, the help that children offer will likely hinder their own progress in life. 5. If they are wealthy, this is not a major concern as they can hire someone to look after their parents and the financial support will not be a burden. 6. However, most working class families will struggle to advance socially when slowed by a duty of care for elderly parents, especially if this includes expensive medical bills.

  1. Write a new topic sentence with a new main idea at the end.
  2. Explain your new main idea.
  3. Include specific details and examples.
  4. Add as much information as you can and make sure it links logically.
  5. Develop the example fully.
  6. State the results as well.

1. In conclusion, despite the moral justifications, there are simply too many situations where these laws would result in injustices and inconveniences. 2. Individuals should be given the opportunity to look after themselves.

  1. Summarise your main ideas.
  2. Include a final thought. Read more about conclusions here.

Vocabulary

What do the words in bold below mean? Make some notes on paper to aid memory and then check below.

There have been recent proposals for laws that would require younger generations to look after older family members when they are no longer capable of doing so themselves. In my opinion, these laws are ethically responsible yet should not be enacted considering the many circumstances they fail to take into account.

Supporters argue elderly care is a basic responsibility. As parents age, there is a near absolute chance they will have some combination of physical, mental, or financial difficulties. Since most older people are unable to work full-time jobs, the duty of care naturally falls to either the state or their families. The government has other concerns and their care is impersonal, as in the case of a state-funded nursing home. Children, who have an obligation to their original care-givers, are in much better positions to provide loving support. This could include living with them, supplying money, or helping them with medical bills.

However, this discounts the many contexts in which this care may not be appropriate. Many parents do not want to be a burden to their children and would rather look after themselves later in life. Others may not have been there for their children, or even been abusive. Moreover, the help that children offer will likely hinder their own progress in life. If they are wealthy, this is not a major concern as they can hire someone to look after their parents and the financial support will not be a burden. However, most working class families will struggle to advance socially when slowed by a duty of care for elderly parents, especially if this includes expensive medical bills.

In conclusion, despite the moral justifications, there are simply too many situations where these laws would result in injustices and inconveniences. Individuals should be given the opportunity to look after themselves.

Answers

For extra practice, write an antonym (opposite word) on a piece of paper to help you remember the new vocabulary:

recent proposals new calls for

require younger generations necessitate children and young adults

older family members elderly parents

no longer capable of doing so themselves can’t take care of themselves on their own

ethically responsible moral duty

enacted put in place

considering given

circumstances situations

fail to take into account don’t consider

supporters argue those in favor say

basic responsibility fundamental duty

near absolute chance almost 100% will happen

combination all together

physical related to the body

mental related to the mind

financial difficulties money trouble

unable can’t

work full-time jobs 40 hour workweeks

duty of care responsibility to look after

naturally falls to of course goes to

the state government

concerns relates to

impersonal unemotional

as in the case of such as when

state-funded nursing home retirement homes

obligation duty

original care-givers parents

in much better positions in improved situations

provide loving support take care of in a kind way

could include might require

supplying giving

medical bills hospital costs

discounts doesn’t consider

contexts situations

appropriate right

burden difficulty

look after themselves later in life take care as they get older

been there around

abusive hurt, neglected

hinder held back

progress moving forward

wealthy have lots of money

major concern big worry

hire give a job

financial support money

burden something that holds you back

working class families middle-class families

struggle have a tough time

advance socially get ahead in life

slowed held back

duty of care responsibility to look after

especially if in particular in the case of

expensive medical bills costly hospital expenses

moral justifications ethical reasons

injustices and inconveniences unfairness and not really convenient

given the opportunity if they have the chance

Pronunciation

Practice saying the vocabulary below and use this tip about Google voice search:

ˈriːsnt prəˈpəʊzəlz 
rɪˈkwaɪə ˈjʌŋə ˌʤɛnəˈreɪʃənz 
ˈəʊldə ˈfæmɪli ˈmɛmbəz 
nəʊ ˈlɒŋgə ˈkeɪpəbl ɒv ˈdu(ː)ɪŋ səʊ ðəmˈsɛlvz
ˈɛθɪkəli rɪsˈpɒnsəbl 
ɪˈnæktɪd 
kənˈsɪdərɪŋ 
ˈsɜːkəmstənsɪz 
feɪl tuː teɪk ˈɪntuː əˈkaʊnt
səˈpɔːtəz ˈɑːgjuː 
ˈbeɪsɪk rɪsˌpɒnsəˈbɪlɪti
nɪər ˈæbsəluːt ʧɑːns 
ˌkɒmbɪˈneɪʃən 
ˈfɪzɪkəl
ˈmɛntl
faɪˈnænʃəl ˈdɪfɪkəltiz
ʌnˈeɪbl 
wɜːk fʊl-taɪm ʤɒbz
ˈdjuːti ɒv keə 
ˈnæʧrəli fɔːlz tuː 
ðə steɪt 
kənˈsɜːnz 
ɪmˈpɜːsnl
æz ɪn ðə keɪs ɒv 
steɪt-ˈfʌndɪd ˈnɜːsɪŋ həʊm
ˌɒblɪˈgeɪʃən 
əˈrɪʤənl keə-ˈgɪvəz
ɪn mʌʧ ˈbɛtə pəˈzɪʃənz 
prəˈvaɪd ˈlʌvɪŋ səˈpɔːt
kʊd ɪnˈkluːd 
səˈplaɪɪŋ 
ˈmɛdɪkəl bɪlz
ˈdɪskaʊnts 
ˈkɒntɛksts 
əˈprəʊprɪɪt
ˈbɜːdn 
lʊk ˈɑːftə ðəmˈsɛlvz ˈleɪtər ɪn laɪf
biːn ðeə 
əˈbjuːsɪv
ˈhaɪndə 
ˈprəʊgrəs 
ˈwɛlθi
ˈmeɪʤə kənˈsɜːn 
ˈhaɪə 
faɪˈnænʃəl səˈpɔːt 
ˈbɜːdn
ˈwɜːkɪŋ klɑːs ˈfæmɪliz 
ˈstrʌgl 
ədˈvɑːns ˈsəʊʃəli 
sləʊd 
ˈdjuːti ɒv keə 
ɪsˈpɛʃəli ɪf 
ɪksˈpɛnsɪv ˈmɛdɪkəl bɪlz
ˈmɒrəl ˌʤʌstɪfɪˈkeɪʃənz
ɪnˈʤʌstɪsɪz ænd ˌɪnkənˈviːniənsɪz
ˈgɪvn ði ˌɒpəˈtjuːnɪti 

Vocabulary Practice

I recommend getting a pencil and piece of paper because that aids memory. Then write down the missing vocabulary from my sample answer in your notebook:

There have been r___________________s for laws that would r__________________________s to look after o___________________________s when they are n__________________________________________s. In my opinion, these laws are e______________________e yet should not be e__________d c______________g the many c_____________s they f______________________t.

S__________________e elderly care is a b_____________________y. As parents age, there is a n______________________e they will have some c____________n of p________l, m_________l, or f______________s. Since most older people are u______e to w__________________________s, the d_______________e n_________________o either t__________e or their families. The government has other c___________s and their care is i____________l, a________________f a s___________________________e. Children, who have an o_____________n to their o_________________s, are i__________________________s to p______________________t. This c_____________e living with them, s____________g money, or helping them with m____________s.

However, this d__________s the many c_____________s in which this care may not be a__________e. Many parents do not want to be a b_______n to their children and would rather l____________________________e. Others may not have b___________e for their children, or even been a________e. Moreover, the help that children offer will likely h_______r their own p__________s in life. If they are w_________y, this is not a m___________n as they can h____e someone to look after their parents and the f_____________t will not be a b_______n. However, most w________________s will s_________e to a_________________y when s________d by a d___________e for elderly parents, e______________f this includes e___________________s.

In conclusion, despite the m__________________s, there are simply too many situations where these laws would result in i____________s and i__________________s. Individuals should be g____________________y to look after themselves.

Listening Practice

Learn more about this topic by watching videos from The New York Times YouTube channel below and practice with these activities:

Reading Practice

Read more about this topic and use these ideas to practice:

https://www.nytimes.com/topic/subject/elder-care

Speaking Practice

Practice with the following topics below from IELTS speaking:

Family

  1. Are you close with your family?
  2. Who do you talk to in your family the most?
  3. Do you have a large family?
  4. Are families becoming more distant in your country?

Writing Practice

Nowadays, families are not as close as in the past and a lot of people have become used to this.

Why is this happening?

Do the advantages of this trend outweigh the drawbacks?


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