How a society cares for their elderly reveals a lot about the quality of people such a society has produced. And after viewing a recent post on Facebook by Bojidar Marinov (founder of Bulgarian Reformation Ministries) on how China’s economic and social transformations are beginning to impact the care of their elderly population – I found some interesting insights into America’s own transformed society. Because for a Government that prides itself on a supposed adherence to human rights and Progressive values – the reality of care towards America’s aged population may not be a sterling example for other nations to follow…
The Washington Post article, which can be read here, pretty much summed up how the elderly in China aren’t being properly cared for by their children like they used to be – largely due to China’s population control (one child per family), Mao Zedong’s radical social experimentation during China’s cultural revolution, and young people forgetting about their parents in order to seek jobs in China’s booming cities.
“Decades of societal turmoil — radical communism followed by rampant capitalism — have frayed the ties that once bound China’s families together extremely closely,” Washington Post writes. “In a country famous for its Confucian traditions of filial obedience, tens of millions of elderly Chinese are being left behind by the country’s transformation, suffering poverty, illness and depression.”
Since the number of senior citizens in China are expected to be about 35 percent of the population by 2053, the Chinese government has been attempting to facilitate the growth of Western style nursing homes, as well as encouraging young people to not forget about their parents. However, the article makes a special effort to point out that many Chinese children, who haven’t yet ditched the old ways, still care for their parents better than people in the West – as indicated by the articles linked below.
- HuffPostUK: The Elderly Isolation Crisis
- Agingcare.com: The Elderly Loneliness Epidemic
- New York Times: The New Old Age – The High Price of Loneliness
While the West may pretend to be so much more advanced than the rest of the world in how it treats people, children dumping their parents off at nursing homes where the care is questionable at best is not the golden example of progress that many regard it to be. As nursing homes do what they can to save money, their employees just aren’t going to care for a stranger the same way that a child should care for their parents. As a result it would be all too easy (and perhaps common) for an aged and ailing individual to be helped along towards death – and none would be the wiser.
- CBS News: Eleven States get failing grade for Nursing Home Care
- ABC News: Elderly abused at 1 in 3 Nursing Homes
- Reuters: Nursing home staff allegedly abused elderly Alzheimer’s patients
The point? It’s pretty bad when the Chinese at their worst still take better care of their elderly than many Westerners do at their best. If we want to be real promoters of human dignity then we need to start sacrificing for our parents in the same way they sacrificed for us. And if we truly believe in personal liberty and the limiting of governmental interference in our lives, then we need to stop relying on the government to take care of our parents and shoulder this responsibility ourselves. We might actually learn something valuable in the process, with the added benefit of showing our own children how we’d like them to treat us when the time comes.
Read more from Bojidar Marinov: