|An undated photo shows an elderly woman dining at a nursing home in Hangzhou. [China Daily/Sun Yidou]|
China is facing a serious problem in terms of its growing ageing population. With a total of 231 million people aged 60 and above, China is expected to have over half a billion people in the same age group by the year 2050. In China, it's a deeply rooted belief that children should care for their aging parents. But as many adult children have to work full-time away from home, it makes nearly impossible for them to take care of their elderly. Forum readers share their opinions.
The folks in North America, Europe, and Asia are much in the same fix as the folks in China — conversely with more than one sibling, but higher financial burdens. Honestly — unless there is an effort at a federal or provincial level — there is going to be a lot of 'empty branches' as the result of '4-2-1'. More money spent on the past ensures that no money will be available in the future.
It's not common or rare for a 70-80-yea-oldr senior to be taken care of 24 hours a day by their adult children. Sending them to nursing homes is practical for many people who cannot afford to hire nurses and doctors for home services. Even if there're family members who don't have to work, they do not have any medical knowledge or nursing skills.
Nursing homes must be planned from now or it will be too late. If you look at the developed countries, adult children are too busy to look after their parents. It is unavoidable. There will be lifestyle changes and the government must plan to anticipate that. Although the foreseeable outcome is not easy to see, at least, certain land and region must be allocated for such homes now.
Palladin (Expat in China)
Home care offers huge benefits. Old people hate change and feel comfortable at home. Likewise the care giver can earn decent salary taking care of elderly and this takes strain off public centers. Now if home giver lives with parents it gives them company and pressure removed from children.
I guess some of the elderly don't have any family still living in China or their hometown. That's what happens especially when you have but one child. Similar problems in Canada/US. Many people have to move away for work.
Chinese parents give 110 percent their whole lives to their children, and they sacrifice everything and save every penny for their children's future, in doing so they miss out on their own lives. I believe there should be a sense of balance. When I'm old I would like to see my children but would not expect them to restrict their own life for me. As a parent you should not put any burdens on your children.
Traditionally filial piety in China dictated that children looked after the elderly in their family. In some countries like England, people in work have money deducted each month toward a pension provided by the government and there are systems of care available, with an elderly person contributing according to their wealth. However, even here there are difficulties finding the money to pay the costs of care. Private pensions and those provided by some companies by way of tax exemption are good if they can be afforded.
With the Western systems there is the opportunity for children to abandon their parents and let the state take over ... which is not good.
|A caretaker at Beijing Intech Nursing Home, a private facility, looks after an Alzheimer's patient in March 2011. [China Daily/Feng Yongbin]|
|A family doctor measures the blood pressure of an 82-year-old man at his home in Chengdu, capital of Sichuan province. [Xinhua]|
(Source: China Daily)