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Filial Piety

Be good to one’s parents. This is a Chinese tradition from which Americans should learn. In America,1 in 5 elders over the age of 80 are put into a nursing home. Sadly, many families are too busy to visit them or assume because they have dementia, they do not realize or remember that they are alone. As a society, we should alter this behavior and perception. Our elders cared for us, worked hard in their lives and it is up to us to give back, even if our busy schedules do not allow for it.

This busy life-style has traveled to China and as a result, nearly half of elders no longer live near their families. In response to this, China passed a law this week, “Protection of the Rights and Interests of Elderly People” that lays out the duties of children to care for their parents. They must go home often and occasionally send greetings. Although there are no penalties for violating this law, it is a step in the right direction.

As for our elders who are “put in homes,” they may have short-term memory loss, but they still feel, smell, hear, see, smile, eat, laugh and love. Isn’t it our duty to provide for these needs? And maybe the perspective shift is that we need to realize what we get out of spending time with them