Since the beginning of time, the Chinese culture has been deeply rooted in family. Grandparents take care of their grandchildren and children care for their aging parents. In recent years, this rich tradition has been forced to look at change.
In the late 1970’s the China population was about to reach the one-billion mark giving cause to the Chinese Communist Party to seriously look at regulating one child per household. By 1980 the central government sought to standardize the one child policy nationwide. Although there were some exceptions, the one child policy stayed strong until recent years when it became apparent that one consequence of the policy was the growing population of seniors.
Now there are more seniors than there are children to care for them. Consequently, elder neglect has become an ugly side effect of the nation’s once well intended plan for protecting the rapidly growing nation. In 2013, The Chinese Government went as far as to pass a controversial law, Protection of the Rights and Interests of Elderly People, where the obligation of the young offspring was very clearly spelled out.
So the tug of war is in place for the children who need to work and yet care for their aging parents. While speaking with families during a recent visit I took to Shanghai the assisted living home model as we know it here in the United States has not yet been able to take off in China. Even though there are private investors willing to fund the brick and mortar of a building, the issue of creating a safe and healthy infrastructure has not yet been a sustainable part of the equation. There are not administrators, RN’s, social workers etc., with the soft skill set required to put the necessary programs in place for the ADL’s, activity of daily living, care model.
To say there is big pendulum swing in both generations is true, but how will this play out? Only time will tell. Chinese government continues to make changes necessary to care for their aging population, but for a culture so deep in caring for their own, it will take time to prove that housing for the aging is a successful, viable and affordable solution.
Respectfully submitted by Pam Rinehart
Right Fit Senior Living
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