It's the perennial expat emotional tug of war: what to do about our parents - or should I say, how to cope with the ageing process and deal with the emotional fallout that comes with seeing someone you love deteriorate and need to be cared for while still living your own life.
Is it possible to be there for your loved ones in need, and do right by them and everyone else in your life?
Caring for an ageing relative is an issue that's not going to go away. By 2050, an estimated 2 billion people will be 60 years old or more. Average life expectancy is increasing; diseases are being managed rather than cured; and so, healthcare costs are rising.
This week a member of my family was admitted, yet again, to hospital, to the intensive care unit to be precise. The past few months have been a cascade of one illness after another, as well as all the possible effects and combined problems that can arise (they have arisen).
Most families I know are going through similar situations, perhaps not dealing with hospitalisation, but with concern for a loved one ageing and not being there for them. This is the kind of thing happening:
A friend has upped sticks and moved back to Canada because her mother needs looking after. She left behind her life of 20-plus years, a business, her friends and her support group.
A family I am close to has decided that the mother and children will go back home "temporarily" so that there's someone to care for her parents, while the father stays put in Dubai to continue working in his business and earning to support everyone, as well as to keep the family home here warm and ready for them to return at some point. I hear the children have settled into their new life just fine.
Their father told me that all this has really opened up his eyes to so many things, such as the need to look after our own health. If you're not fit and healthy, you're no help - rather a burden at some point. Then there are the mounting medical costs to think about.
Of course, there's the emotional cost too. The call of duty and love makes many lives collide; who comes first? Your parents or your own little ones? Well, that's a decision we each need to make in private.
But let's be very basic and practical, and talk about the financial cost of - well, everything. Whether it's medical bills, transport back and forth to hospitals and clinics, the hours of waiting and the luxury of simply being available. And in many cases for us living here in the UAE, the cost of getting back home.
There could also be the expense of having homes converted to accommodate the now restricted movement and ability of its occupants.
And what about when you and I are older and less able? Are we factoring in these costs in our retirement plans? Are we? I suppose you could argue that adequate health insurance will cover the medical needs - but does it? And it's about more than medicine and seeing a doctor. Think about it: who's going to be ferrying you back and forth? And waiting for you? And making sure that you are actually taking the right medication at the right time? A health insurance policy doesn't cover all that.
And let's get a dose of reality here, we're talking basic things such as: who's going to buy the right food, cook it the right way, then make sure it's heated up and eaten at the right time?
Well, I for one don't want someone else to stop living their life to do this for me should I ever need it. We must all rethink what our pensions will have to cover. Personally, I think the way to go is having the option of medically qualified home help. Just think about it: that could mean you are still able to live in the home you love, and even have someone to chat with, that you can enjoy your loved ones when they come over, and be looked after without putting them out, and provide employment for someone to boot.
In today's money, the average cost of home care in, say, the UK is £13.67 an hour (Dh75). So just two hours of home care per day could amount to nearly £10,000 a year - and these costs will be higher for weekends and public holidays.
There are other options, such as moving in with your children or relatives when you're unable to care for yourself, or moving into a home that will care for you. Even these choices, where they exist, are not without cost.
And so back to my relative. If he was to fall again and really do some damage, then what? The people in his life simply cannot cope - as much as they'd love and want to, the likelihood is that professional help will be needed.
Most of us won't be looked after by a government when we need it. So what are you doing about it?
One thing's for sure: we're getting older all the time. I'm sure I'm not alone when I say that the very last thing I want is to be a burden to anyone - especially my child - and so, the next thing I'm going to do is figure out the cost of that super-nurse who's going to keep me going. Or rather, who I'm going to keep. And then factor it into my pension plan. What about you?
Nima Abu-Wardeh is the founder of the personal finance website www.cashy.me