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Wear Your Seats Belts, Call Your Parents!

July 3, 2013

While we prefer to avoid government intervention in our private lives, few argue about wearing our seat belts, because it’s a good thing.  A new law in China requires people to do something that, without doubt, is a good thing.

Three Senior Asian Smiling happily at park in a morning.The Chinese government passed a law last year requiring children to take care of the physical and spiritual needs of their parents.  Perhaps even more so than in the United States, children leave home for jobs, education and opportunity.  Parents may be left alone, with little infrastructure to care for them.  The law establishes that adult children must visit parents on a regular basis, or at least greet them.  It gives parents the right for legal recourse.  The seniors that are the object of this ruling are those 60 years and older and living alone.

There are many areas that the law leaves unanswered.  It does not establish clearly what constitutes a “visit” or a “greeting”.  Nor does it establish the frequency of these events.  Many have raised the concern that mistreated or forgotten parents will never invoke their privileges under the law because it draws attention to them or their children in undesirable ways.

Maybe the law is best as written.  With the challenges of caring for the elder population growing, moral reminders are valuable ways to redirect time and resources to the effort.   People may not be able to travel thousands of miles to see mom or dad, but at least they can pick up the phone.   And perhaps the law will help remind others in the community to be aware of the elders around them.

In our home care business serving Chapel Hill and Durham, NC, we have a number of senior clients whose families live far away.  They rely on caregivers to provide some of the attention that they are unable to.  Even when a son or daughter lives close by, having an extra pair of hands to spend time with mom or dad can be a blessing.  In addition, the local Department on Aging offers many programs to fill the gap, including a simple phone call in the morning to make sure the senior is doing OK.





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