Cultural Differences - In China, Ignore your Parents at Your Peril
Category: Elder Law
Most people are uncomfortable with the plight of seniors separated from their families and alone in their final years - but is there another way? In China, society and government are taking action to mandated filial loyalty and support. At the present time, there is no legal duty in the US for children to support their parents. I found this very interesting article, Charlotte Observer - Ignore parents? At your own peril that shows another road to caring for our older family members. Notably, "Only 1 percent of Chinese older than 80 are in elder care facilities, compared with 20 percent in the U.S., according to the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies."
"In Shanghai, the Nanjing East Road Neighborhood Committee recently took to
public shaming to ensure that people attend to their aging parents. Anyone who
doesn't visit at least once every three months faces having his or her name posted on a community signboard.
Members of a nearby senior community announced a different approach: They
would fine offspring $5 if they didn't invite their parents home for Chinese New
And then there's the Chinese government itself: Shirkers face five years in prison for failing to support or take care of their parents.
In the battle to safeguard the tradition of filial piety, China's social watchdogs are employing many weapons: shame, fines, bribery, guilt and flattery."
The article goes on to consider how the changes of the 21st century have been acting to undermine strong traditional Chinese family values. It leads to thoughts about how we can perhaps internalize some of the elder care debate in this country - if of course there was a way to pay for it since most long term care funding options favor institutionalized care - but that is a post for another time.