When we were young, we would piggyback on dad’s shoulders, be chased around by mom with her rotans and snuggle up to our grandparents for amazing stories. Remember when mom dried our tears and snots on the first day of school or how dad held our little hands when we crossed the streets? Well, those days are gone.
Millennials, the time has now come for us to hold our parents’ hands, to guide them across the streets and help them maneuver through life in their golden years as they once did for us. It is time for us to take the mantle and become their caretaker. One thing though, how differently do the East and West care for their elders?
Asians be like
: Senior citizens in Asia are deemed as wise old sages. Think Yoda, wrinkly with lots of mumbo jumbos but with precious words of wisdom. Because of this, Asians were taught to respect the elderly from a very young age. Filial piety is also a thing in Asia. Hence, many make it a point to have gatherings on weekends or holidays where all family members gather together for a reunion.
And the West
: Westerners were taught to be very independent and outspoken from young. If they disagree with their parents, they won’t mince their words. Many mistake this as disrespect for their elders but that is untrue. It’s just that they are more outspoken is all.
Look to the East
: Many Asian families choose to live with their aging parents under one roof. This can turn into a symbiotic movement where the abled seniors also end up looking after their grandchildren; some to pass their time, others to ease the burden of their children.
Journey to the West
: The young ones move out of the nest once they finish school, are propelled to focus on their careers and their own households. Hence, most parents end up staying on their own, away from their kids, and happily so. #nodrama
: If the elders are unable to look after themselves, then most Asian families will either employ a maid, daily nurse or even have a family member to look after them full time. Nursing homes in Asia are still very much considered a taboo.
: With medical facilities and home care programs being far more advanced in the West, most of the elderly find it easier to cope in these institutions or nursing homes. The able-bodied ones would join activities for senior citizens and enjoy visits from their family members while the weaker ones can rest in the care of professional helpers and nurses.
While both cultures cannot be more different from one another, there is no denying that parents love their children. And as children, we should love our parents back, spend time with them and enjoy every minute of their company. For life is short, and every moment is precious. So let’s make the most of it while we still can. #loveyoumomndad