Malaysia’s elderly population hit an all-time peak in 2020, making Malaysia a member of other aging nations worldwide. When a growing number of Malaysians progress into their old age, they will require greater support in their daily routines.
In the past, parents generally moved in with their children as they grew older, usually for dependency and filial obligations according to most Asian cultures. However, taking care of an elderly parent has become increasingly difficult due to the process of ageing putting elders at risk towards chronic illnesses and medical costs required to handle them. Thanks to this, the demand and need for medical care and elder care facilities has risen and will continue to do so in the future.
Granted, being around your loved ones, and having a familiar environment to live in is ideal, certain changes in our lives will prove to be inevitable. Among those includes the lives of these children who may have their own jobs, livelihoods, and obligations to deal will often not involve their elderly parents. Additionally, it will be difficult to acknowledge an older person’s degree of autonomy and independence when health problems or declines begin occur because we are obligated to choose to honor them rather than properly discuss and come to terms about it. As a result, it is difficult to help our older loved one’s plan for their care when we all have our work cut out for us while managing our relationships with them.
However, we must nevertheless acknowledge the risks around the elderly who are left to handle their own devices alone. Their solitude, while could make them lonely and antsy, will bring several risks especially when an accident happens, or if no one is around to properly care for them if they have pre-existing health conditions, which could in turn lead to a drastic decrease in their quality of life, if not prove fatal altogether.
We are at the age and time where we have better options for health and healthcare available, so perhaps we should be lenient on our filial obligations if we are not equipped to fulfil everything in the proverbial box for giving back to our elder parents. So maybe by pursuing the alternative of choosing an elder care facility or nursing home, we can still provide them a chance to live their lives in dignity and comfort.
It’s important to note, though, that this alternative does not absolve us of filial responsibility. While growing older comfortably is a priority, the process often requires at least some form of care or assistance for people’s health, safety and everyday activities. Therefore, it’s imperative that everyone puts their best efforts to help their elderly parents achieve that by investing in this alternative and still remain by their sides.