Ageing China

24 Paragons of Filial Piety 5
24 Paragons of Filial Piety 5 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Filial Piety

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China, a country steeped in traditional Confucianism of filial piety, the foundation of all social values, is without exception as with Japan, rapidly facing the changes & challenges of an aging population.

While the physical needs of the aged can be taken care of financially, their social, spiritual & emotional needs are in fact far more critical.

Can we expect the old folks to be left on their own in care or nursing homes? Left to their own accord to congregate among themselves to play Chinese chess, mahjong or tai-chi exercise, as they are fond of & popularly known to indulge?Many old folks complain about being left there alone at care or nursing homes without visits from their loved ones.

Without adequate safety net for the elderly & which is not quite in place, the staggering number & rapid growth of the aged are indeed scary.By 2050 more than a quarter of the population will be over 65 years old and younger generations face an unprecedented burden of care.The present figure stands at 180 millions. The enforced one-child policy & the fact that longevity is prolonged nationally at around 75 because of improvement in health & medical care further aggravate the situation.

The unprecedented growth of such sheer numbers will definitely pose a serious threat to China’s social fabric and economic stability.The planning & tasks ahead are enormous.

China has recently stirred family emotions with a new law making it compulsory for grown adults to visit their elderly parents. It states that adults must take care of their parents’ spiritual needs. The law is short on detail – frequency of visits or potential punishment, but courts could impose fines or jail terms. This is indeed a surprised move.

Another area of concern, both in China and globally, is the proportion of older people living alone. The UN estimates that 40 percent of the world’s elderly are living independently alone or with their spouse, with an big gap depending on where you live – urban or rural.

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So, is China right to make children legally obliged to look after their aged parents? Is the world ready to cope with a rapidly ageing population?


Old parents/grandparents, in their golden years of life, deserve to be well looked after & enjoy whatever leisure & pleasure that the diminishing years ahead of them have to offer.

It’s a shame that in this fast changing world, a lot of traditional practices are phasing out. Nothing pleases the old folks more or can replace the simple pleasure & joy of family reunions during birthday & anniversary celebrations, Spring festivals & others . . . or two, three or four generations simply coming together for meals. Now you see old folks selling off their family home and downsizing to live in apartments or care homes.

No Half Measures . . .

Shire of Kalamunda
Shire of Kalamunda (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Haynes St. Kalamunda. Looking down from Hans Cafe

The Shire of Kalamunda, in line with other Shires & City Councils,

has a scheme to aid pensioners & people with physical disabilities to live independent lives by providing them with gardening assistance, meals-on-wheels, home-care etc.

My wife & I have lived in Kalamunda Shire since 1988, and there is no other place in Perth that we rather be than right here in Perth Hills, where the air is fresh & the scenery more beautiful each day.

This is our home. There is no place like home.

Our Modest Home in Perth Hills

Of course, there is no free lunch in this whole wide world. There is always a price to be paid. But in this case, through the passion & compassion of the Shire, payment is subsidised. For instance, in the matter of gardening service as provided through Home and Community Care (HACC), the subsidised rate is only $8.00 per hour.

I am more than well qualified for the HACC Scheme – a man with more than three score & ten years of age, severe backache, severe glaucoma, diabetes . . . what more do I need to say. Initially, I was given two hours of gardening service once every four weeks.

However, one fateful date, one nice old HACC lady came by to reassess my entitlement. I told her at my age I would be lucky to maintain my healthy status quo & not getting any better or worse. That was on 17 of November 2011.

After the assessment, I was taken off the scheme! No particular reason was given. For weeks I was left in the lurch without any help 0r assistance whatsoever.

I wrote in a couple of times with medical evidences but to no avail. The irony was they were not interested in my medical conditions, which means that nothing medical nor age was ever considered. I was made to feel that perhaps it was a case ofracial discrimination. Legitimately, I have every right to my entitlement. But why should I be DEPRIVED.

Now, they reinstalled the service since 6 weeks ago – but only it’s going to be ONCE EVERY SIX WEEKS FOR ONE HOUR ONLY. On Monday, 8 October 2012, Michael our new gardener called and did a wonderful job from 12.45 PM to 1.45 PM. He was specifically instructed to do only our front yard!

Neglected Backyard – Tall grass & weeds
Viewing from right – Neglected Backyard

But what about my backyard? Well, I guess the grass & weeds got to stay long & plentiful, certainly not good for health & summer bush fire!

Michael was telling my wife that he was finding it tough to do his work within the hour allotted. He concurred that more time should be given and MORE FREQUENCY e.g. at once every three to four weeks & two hours at a stretch.

More regular cutting makes life easier for the gardener.

When saving a man . . .

You don’t save him in half measure!