The aging population in China is growing at a rapid rate with almost half of their population reaching 50 and above by 2050. And whereas in America, we have created legislation distributing funds to support our growing aging population, in China, the legislation is a little bit different.
A Filial Matter
In traditional Chinese culture, the elders are honored and respected by the young, and daughters, sons and in-laws are expected to provide and support for their aging parents. All activities and responsibilities of elder care are woven into the family unit and become integrated into the traditional family lifestyle.
To reinforce this cultural tradition, China has put in place elder care laws that require children to financially and emotionally support their parents. For example, a recent amendment to the laws even requires that “adult children regularly visit…their parents” for emotional support.
And these elder care laws have not been ignored by China’s aging population, since “more than 1,000 parents have already sued their children for financial support over the last 15 years.”
Zhang is one of these thousands of parents who recently sued her children for not taking care of her. Zhang (age 94) claims that she is locked in her room all day and that her children “force her to drag [her toilet bucket] outside to empty it, but she is too weak and it is too heavy.”
The American experience.
It’s difficult to imagine our aging parents in America living in the conditions faced by Zhang. Other than being in completely different countries with completely different economic systems, the most distinct factor that separates the living conditions of most seniors in America with those as reported by Zhang in China is that we have in place multiple types of resources that assist the elder in all aspects of aging.
For example, there are programs in place that work to revamp seniors’ living spaces to accommodate physical limitations and ensure mobile safety in the home. Other programs are implemented to teach seniors how to use the internet to make connections with others, reducing their risk of depression. Additionally, there are government funded programs in place—such as Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security—that essentially “replace” what China relies on its sons and daughters to supply.
However, one unique resource that is available in America to support the aging population is access to technology.
Home care software as a service to elders
More and more elder care providers are seeing the benefits of home care software and home care system solutions as the key to providing better and improved care to a growing population of seniors aging at home. With today’s home care system, all individuals involved in the care of a senior are more connected than ever to ensure that an individual is receiving the proper care to live safely and independently in their homes.
For example, a home care system like ClearCare allows family members, healthcare administrators, and caregivers to communicate directly with each other revolving an individual’s well-being. Care updates from personal caregivers at the senior’s home are immediately transmitted to family members and administrators through the home care system so that all involved members are aware of the individual’s condition in real-time. This layered form of communication and monitoring ensures that a senior is receiving the proper care and being supported to live safely and independently in their home.
Additionally, home care software today allow administrators to assign tasks directly to caregivers to make sure that all of a senior’s needs are being addressed. Whether it is to remind the senior to take their medication, or to help keep the senior’s living space clean, today’s home care software and home care system solutions function to support all aspects of aging for our elder population.
Although there are elder laws in America similar to those in China that mandate for adult children to support their aging parents, “they are little known and rarely enforced because government funds help support the old.” And with the additional resources and home care software technology available in America, our aging population is resourced with multiple levels of support to help them age healthily in their living environment.