The Golden Years … Really?

Recent articles in the newspapers about the younger generation abandoning their parents at welfare homes are indeed a depressing read for both the aging population and those who have aging parents. Sadly, this has been a reality for some time already and is increasing affecting many in our rapidly modernising society.

Children raised on Asian values are no stranger to the concept of filial piety (孝道) – to be respectful to and to care for their parents. However, with the rising cost of living, this is easier said and done. This is especially true for those who have to care for an ailing parent. I have witness first-hand how this can drain families of their financial and emotional well-being and not everyone can handle it.

Having said that does not mean that I support those who have abandoned their parents at welfare homes. I believe everyone will have to pay for what they have done to anyone in this life or in the afterlife. God will be the judge.

Community and government efforts can provide support to those who are truly in need of help to mitigate this situation. Some measures could include:

–       Mobile doctors should be available to treat elderly patients who are confined to their homes
–       Home nursing care services should be more widespread
–       Establish community support centres for those caring for the aging
–       Nursing homes with better facilities and more affordable fees should be set up

Even with such a support system, it is still ultimately up to the children to decide on how they want to care for their parents. I believe it should not be the fear of karma that drives us to be filial sons and daughters but the genuine love for our parents who have made us what we are today. After all, without them, we won’t even exist. We always have a choice. Sticking to the right one is what really counts.

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