There's a saying that I've heard from other friends who have children that goes, "Be nice to your children because they choose your future nursing home". While I've tended to laugh when I hear that phrase, it's not a laughing matter in China.
A law is set to be passed in China starting July 1st that entitles any parent to sue their child if they feel the've been neglected. Strange as it may sound to most people, this law has merit due to the overwhelming aging population that is predicted to explode by 2053.
Many of the those who have felt they have been subject to neglect for years see this law as a way of making sure they're not forgotten once they've been placed in senior homes. Asian culture has always valued family ties, but with the current elder population outnumbering the younger generation partly resulting from their 1-child policy, it has created a rift between the generations with regard to the quality of care they get.
Is the policy of having one child per family be the only culprit in this? What about the fact that so many of the younger generation have spent their energy on becoming successful in business, but too busy to care for their parents? Taking care of one's family may seem to be a burden for the younger generation who feel they have too much going on at work or their own families, but parental care should not suffer as a result.
For an Asian woman like me, family is very important and taking care of your parents is paramount. As my parents have gotten older, my sisters and I do our part of caring for them by taking turns visiting and spending time with them. While we all have families of our own, we try to see them as often as we can.
It's a shame that a law has to be in place to remind people to care for their parents. What will be interesting is whether it will make a difference since the elderly may not want to cause shame to their families by making it a public affair. Here's hoping that the younger generation realize the seriousness of this issue and make conscious efforts to spend quality time with the people who cared for them throughout their childhood and adulthood. That's my view on this, what's yours?
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