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This is an IELTS writing task 2 sample answer essay on the topic of taking care of parents from the real IELTS general training exam.

Tough one for me to write about it – let me know what you think in the comments!

Please consider supporting me on Patreon.com/howtodoielts so that I can continue publishing these essays!

Dave

IELTS Essay: Taking Care of Parents

Fewer and fewer children are willing to look after their parents as they get older these days.

Do the advantages of this trend outweigh the disadvantages?

Many people today believe that since children are less and less likely to look after their parents, this has a negative impact on society. In my opinion, though there are decided social drawbacks, the advantages for both the elderly and younger people are greater.

Those who decry the perceived selfishness of children these days point out the vulnerability of the elderly. Firstly, many elderly people suffer from chronic, degenerative conditions such as declining eyesight, arthritis, dementia, and more serious diseases such as cancer. They therefore rely on the support of those around them and may not still have a spouse capable of looking after them. Secondly, those on fixed incomes might need financial assistance. In many countries, the social welfare systems are weak and elderly people who have not been able to save for retirement can find themselves living in destitute conditions or relying on soup kitchens and, in extreme cases, driven to homelessness.

However, the cases above are exceptions and it is more important for both parents and children to be independent. Many children end up in a situation where they must neglect their own plans and family in order to spend time and pay exorbitant medical bills for the elderly. This has an impact disproportionate with its benefits and younger people would be better off prioritising their own lives. Moreover, the elderly themselves may come to think of themselves as burdens. If they are constantly asking for help and impairing the progress of their children, then they have not done an adequate job as a parent to begin with. A greater degree of self-reliance will preserve their dignity and allow their children to prosper.

In conclusion, despite the necessity of aid from children in specific instances, most families benefit valuing independence. Therefore, looking after ones parents ought to be a last resort option.

Analysis

1. Many people today believe that since children are less and less likely to look after their parents, this has a negative impact on society. 2. In my opinion, though there are decided social drawbacks, the advantages for both the elderly and younger people are greater.

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

1. Those who decry the perceived selfishness of children these days point out the vulnerability of the elderly. 2. Firstly, many elderly people suffer from chronic, degenerative conditions such as declining eyesight, arthritis, dementia, and more serious diseases such as cancer. 3. They therefore rely on the support of those around them and may not still have a spouse capable of looking after them. 4. Secondly, those on fixed incomes might need financial assistance. 5. In many countries, the social welfare systems are weak and elderly people who have not been able to save for retirement can find themselves living in destitute conditions or relying on soup kitchens and, in extreme cases, driven to homelessness.

  1. Write a topic sentence with a clear main idea at the end.
  2. Explain your main idea.
  3. Develop it with specific detail.
  4. Continue to develop it.
  5. Develop it as fully as possible.

1. However, the cases above are exceptions and it is more important for both parents and children to be independent. 2. Many children end up in a situation where they must neglect their own plans and family in order to spend time and pay exorbitant medical bills for the elderly. 3. This has an impact disproportionate with its benefits and younger people would be better off prioritising their own lives. 4. Moreover, the elderly themselves may come to think of themselves as burdens. 5. If they are constantly asking for help and impairing the progress of their children, then they have not done an adequate job as a parent to begin with. 6. A greater degree of self-reliance will preserve their dignity and allow their children to prosper.

  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. The more specific, the better.
  5. Add on any extra detail that you can that is related for a better task achievement score.
  6. This paragraph can be slightly longer but not too much!

1. In conclusion, despite the necessity of aid from children in specific instances, most families benefit valuing independence. 2. Therefore, looking after ones parents ought to be a last resort option.

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

Vocabulary

What do the words in bold below mean? Take notes on a piece of paper so that you remember them better:

Many people today believe that since children are less and less likely to look after their parents, this has a negative impact on society. In my opinion, though there are decided social drawbacks, the advantages for both the elderly and younger people are greater.

Those who decry the perceived selfishness of children these days point out the vulnerability of the elderly. Firstly, many elderly people suffer from chronic, degenerative conditions such as declining eyesight, arthritis, dementia, and more serious diseases such as cancer. They therefore rely on the support of those around them and may not still have a spouse capable of looking after them. Secondly, those on fixed incomes might need financial assistance. In many countries, the social welfare systems are weak and elderly people who have not been able to save for retirement can find themselves living in destitute conditions or relying on soup kitchens and, in extreme cases, driven to homelessness.

However, the cases above are exceptions and it is more important for both parents and children to be independent. Many children end up in a situation where they must neglect their own plans and family in order to spend time and pay exorbitant medical bills for the elderly. This has an impact disproportionate with its benefits and younger people would be better off prioritising their own lives. Moreover, the elderly themselves may come to think of themselves as burdens. If they are constantly asking for help and impairing the progress of their children, then they have not done an adequate job as a parent to begin with. A greater degree of self-reliance will preserve their dignity and allow their children to prosper.

In conclusion, despite the necessity of aid from children in specific instances, most families benefit valuing independence. Therefore, looking after ones parents ought to be a last resort option.

Answers

less and less likely not as common

look after take care of

decided definite

drawbacks downsides

greater more important

decry question

perceived selfishness apparently only caring about themselves

point out argue

vulnerability weakness

suffer hurt

chronic your whole life

degenerative conditions conditions that only get worse, not better

declining eyesight worse seeing

arthritis aching joints

dementia can’t remember, Alzheimer’s

rely depend on

support help

spouse capable significant other can

fixed incomes no extra money

financial assistance extra money

social welfare systems support from the government, housing, etc.

retirement stopping working after 65

find themselves end up

destitute conditions very poor

soup kitchens places that provide free meals

in extreme cases the worst examples

driven to homelessness have to live on the streets

exceptions outliers

independent self-reliant

end up finally become

neglect not pay attention to

pay exorbitant medical bills expensive medicine, treatments

impact disproportionate with its benefits not as much result as what it costs

better off prioritising should care about

may come to think of themselves as burdens feel they are a hindrance

constantly always

impairing hurting

progress moving up in life

adequate enough

to begin with starting with

a greater degree some amount

self-reliance independence

preserve maintain

dignity self-respect

prosper flourish

necessity need

specific instances some examples

last resort option no other choice/option

Pronunciation

lɛs ænd lɛs ˈlaɪkli 
lʊk ˈɑːftə 
dɪˈsaɪdɪd 
ˈdrɔːbæks
ˈgreɪtə
dɪˈkraɪ 
pəˈsiːvd ˈsɛlfɪʃnɪs 
pɔɪnt aʊt 
ˌvʌlnərəˈbɪlɪti 
ˈsʌfə 
ˈkrɒnɪk
dɪˈʤɛnərətɪv kənˈdɪʃənz 
dɪˈklaɪnɪŋ ˈaɪsaɪt
ɑːˈθraɪtɪs
dɪˈmɛnʃɪə
rɪˈlaɪ 
səˈpɔːt 
spaʊz ˈkeɪpəbl 
fɪkst ˈɪnkʌmz 
faɪˈnænʃəl əˈsɪstəns
ˈsəʊʃəl ˈwɛlfeə ˈsɪstɪmz 
rɪˈtaɪəmənt 
faɪnd ðəmˈsɛlvz 
ˈdɛstɪtjuːt kənˈdɪʃənz 
suːp ˈkɪʧɪnz 
ɪn ɪksˈtriːm ˈkeɪsɪz
ˈdrɪvn tuː ˈhəʊmlɪsnəs 
ɪkˈsɛpʃənz 
ˌɪndɪˈpɛndənt
ɛnd ʌp 
nɪˈglɛkt 
peɪ ɪgˈzɔːbɪtənt ˈmɛdɪkəl bɪlz 
ˈɪmpækt ˌdɪsprəˈpɔːʃnɪt wɪð ɪts ˈbɛnɪfɪts 
ˈbɛtər ɒf praɪˈɒrɪˌtaɪzɪŋ 
meɪ kʌm tuː θɪŋk ɒv ðəmˈsɛlvz æz ˈbɜːdnz
ˈkɒnstəntli 
ɪmˈpeərɪŋ 
ˈprəʊgrəs 
ˈædɪkwɪt 
tuː bɪˈgɪn wɪð
ə ˈgreɪtə dɪˈgriː 
sɛlf-rɪˈlaɪəns 
prɪˈzɜːv 
ˈdɪgnɪti 
ˈprɒspə
nɪˈsɛsɪti 
spɪˈsɪfɪk ˈɪnstənsɪz
lɑːst rɪˈzɔːt ˈɒpʃən

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:

Many people today believe that since children are l__________________y to l______________r their parents, this has a negative impact on society. In my opinion, though there are d__________d social d_____________s, the advantages for both the elderly and younger people are g_________r.

Those who d________y the p____________________s of children these days p__________t the v______________y of the elderly. Firstly, many elderly people s__________r from c__________c, d_______________________s such as d__________________t, a_____________s, d____________a, and more serious diseases such as cancer. They therefore r____y on the s____________t of those around them and may not still have a s______________e of looking after them. Secondly, those on f_________________s might need f_____________________e. In many countries, the s_______________________s are weak and elderly people who have not been able to save for r________________t can f_______________s living in d___________________s or relying on s_____________s and, i___________________s, d_____________________s.

However, the cases above are e_________________s and it is more important for both parents and children to be i______________t. Many children e_______p in a situation where they must n________t their own plans and family in order to spend time and p________________________s for the elderly. This has an i__________________________________s and younger people would be b__________________________g their own lives. Moreover, the elderly themselves m___________________________________________s. If they are c_____________y asking for help and i________________g the p_________s of their children, then they have not done an a_____________e job as a parent t___________________h. A____________________e of s_________________e will p__________e their d__________y and allow their children to p_________r.

In conclusion, despite the n____________y of aid from children in s___________________s, most families benefit valuing independence. Therefore, looking after ones parents ought to be a l__________________n.

Listening Practice

Learn more about this topic in the video below and practice with these activities:

Reading Practice

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

Speaking Practice

Practice with the following speaking questions from the real IELTS speaking exam:

Old People (Model answer available on my Patreon)

  1. What are the advantages of having an elderly person at home? 
  2. Is there anything that older people should learn from the younger generation?
  3. What can the younger generation learn from the older generation? 
  4. What qualities does a person need to take care of older people? 
  5. Do you think elderly people should be allowed to work? 

Writing Practice

Practice with the related topic below and then check with my sample answer:

Parents should take courses in parenting in order to improve the lives of their children.

To what extent do you agree?


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