Elderly parents who have no financial resources through no fault of their own must be cared for. Where will the money come from for these social programs? Even animals are cared for in their declining years, are your parents less worthy than your dogs and cats? Retirement savings can be completely drained paying for a catastrophic illness, whether its your own, or your child's. There are no safeguards in place for this happening. You can also lose your savings through other avenues that are not your fault. Investment scams, even children who take advantage of a parent's generosity. Your parent was responsible for you regardless of your worthiness, and you will inherit your parent's wealth when they are gone. Retirement homes should not be a dumping ground. That is abuse.
There are numerous laws in place, to ensure parents properly provide and care for their children. Parents who fail to do so can sometimes be charged with neglect, or abandonment. If parents are expected to be legally accountable for their helpless children, then those children as adults should also be legally accountable for their helpless, elderly parents.
Parents have a responsibility towards their underage children, that is true. With great power comes great responsibility. But when the children become legal adults, they legally have the same powers as their parents. Adults of every age should make some sort of plans for their elder years, and not assume that any specific person will able (much less willing) to care for them. Also, treating your children with kindness and respect will pay huge dividends.
I do not believe adult children should be legally obligated to take care of their aging parents. Unfortunately this is not a financial burden people are able to afford. I believe people are left up to their own and if their children can help them, that is great, but they shouldn't be forced. Aging parents should seek out financial help and social programs if they aren't capable of taking care of themselves anymore. I know I will always be available to my parents for anything, but I live in poverty, so financially there's nothing I can do for them.
No, adult children should not be legally obligated to take care of their aging parents, because the children did nothing to ask for the responsibility of parents to take care of. Also, requiring it would be awfully sticky in cases where the parents were abusive. This is especially true in cases where the abuse was never reported.
Without knowing more about the relationship between a parent and child, it seems unfair to require children to care for their parents. Their parents may have been poor providers who did not set aside money for retirement, or squandered their savings. In these types of cases, I don't think children should be responsible for this poor decision-making. That said, I would hope that most children would want to provide this type of support. I also think that perhaps there could be some guidelines around circumstances in which children must care for their parents (for example income requirements of some sort).
They should not be obligated to take care of them because it is not their problem. It is the aging parents job to figure out what they want to do with themselves as they get older. It would also be hard to enforce this due to the fact that many children move out of the state that they were born in, which would make it harder to enforce this law.