Jan 11, 2018

Should it Be a Crime to Not Visit Your Elderly Parents?

Older people, no matter who they are or where they are from, often find themselves struggling with social isolation.

After working hard at their jobs and raising their families, some elderly people end up living alone having no one visit or check in on them.

Social isolation can happen to anyone – it even happens to people who have children. There are a number of things that could happen; their children may marry and focus on their own families, or move far away for work,

Regardless of the reason, it’s never pleasant for the elderly parents to feel abandoned.

China’s Law to Care for Your Parents

In 2013, China introduced a law that said children of parents who are 60 or older are required to visit their parents “frequently”.

The role of visiting them is to make sure their elderly parents’ financial and spiritual needs are met, making it their “duty” to give back to their parents.

“People are accusing young people of not visiting their parents enough,” Lola Wang told CNN.

Lola makes a six-hour trip to her hometown in eastern China to see her parents twice a year.

She she agrees with the aims of the law, “admittedly, some of them use their career and long working hours as an excuse. My problems are that I do care about my parents, but I have little vacation and my parents live far away.”

It’s said that there has been “change of values” in the younger generations. Traditional family models have evolved and with high cost of living there is often no one at home to care for the elderly or young children.

“The traditional family support system is eroding for many reasons and I think the government would like to slow this process down,” said Albert Park, the director of the Emerging Markets Institute at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

China’s law states that children are expected to pay a monthly allowance to their parents if they refuse to take care of them.

The legislation gives the parents the right to sue their children – however, there are no details about the process or what penalties they might face.

Could This be Adopted in Australia?

In Australia, many older people live in residential aged care because their families are unable to care for them. But once they are in care, they rarely get visited.

In fact, it’s been stated that around 40 per cent of aged care residents get zero visitors year round.

Could a law to visit your parents – like the one China have legislated – be adopted in Australia? Would it reduce the social isolation felt by older people in the community and in aged care?

Though it would be challenging to “force” someone to visit their parents, not to mention ethnically ambiguous, having some sort of financial and emotional support could help parent could see the rise of more “traditional family values”.

What do you have to say? Comment, share and like below.

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  1. I guess the Health care system feel the burden of having to meet all the needs of abandoned elderly people. I think if adults saw it more as a way of helping the healthcare system then perhaps there would not be as much resistance.
    I worked as a Community nurse and often felt angry when old people were abandoned, not so much sad for the old person..but angry that we as healthworkers had to play the child in some form.
    In most cases I think the children should have some responsibility because really this is not a perfect world and dumping them on others is unfair. A nursing home cannot meet all their needs and certainly not the embarrassent the client feels being abandoned and staff have to deal with the anger, shame etc Work as a team with health staff and care for your parents.
    This does not mean the children have to suddenly enter a fake relationship with the client, but maybe explain to the staff the relationship dynamics and come to an agreement of some type of contribution you can make.
    I guess if it feels totally apprehendable to do his for whatever reason ..fair enough…but I think a change of attitude would generally help.
    Also this is a process that takes time, learning and patience.

  2. There are many reasons children might not visit their parents, who are we to legislate they must. China is known to have many abuses of human rights, so is this more an economic measure rather than a compassionate one? Australia is a vast country and how would it work? Love should be the only driver to visit , not duty.

  3. Let’s us out at both ends, we have no parents to visit and no children to visit us! PERFECT PEACE ALL ROUND

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