A problem that becomes more pressing with every passing year
My parents live in Chongqing and I live in Beijing, 1,500 km apart. As an only child in my 30s, I have started thinking about senior care for my parents, and the plans are becoming more detailed and practical as I get older.
I want to ask them to stay with me in Beijing, but I have concerns— such as if they could adapt to weather and if I could afford the cost.
I have thought about placing them in a nursing home, but that would really bemy last choice.
I have been thinking about saving to buy or rent an apartment formy parents nearby. I even found a nursing home formy 90-year-old grandmother in a community center where she could be cared for while I’m at work. Money is the big problem because of the incredible price of housing in Beijing. I am also looking into medical insurance policies to prepare in advance.
I will be 32 this year. When I was 22, if someone had told me that in 10 years’ time I would be so concerned about my parents’ senior care, I would not have believed them.
I left Chongqing when I was 18. At the time, all I wanted was to leave home and get away frommy parents. I never thought about “trivial matters”, such as filial loyalty.
All universities I applied to were at least a 1,500 km from Chongqing, and I was thrilled to fulfill my dream and attend college in Beijing.
That doesn’t mean that I didn’t love my parents. I missed them and called them every other day— far more often than most ofmy peers — but I still longed for a “getaway” life.
When I graduated, I never thought of returning home for work. Instead, I went further, across the Pacific Ocean to study in the United States.
Plane tickets were costly, so I confined my home visits to one every two years or so.
My father visited me during the 2009 summer vacation. It was the first time we had seen each other for about 18 months. We traveled around together for a couple of weeks, and when I went to see him off at the airport, he held me very tight, whispered “take care” and turned around quickly. I knew he didn’t want me to see him cry.
Overwhelmed by sadness, I watched him walk through the security gate, gradually becoming smaller and indistinct in the crowd of people.
I was 25, my father was 56 andmy mother was 54. It was the first time I realized my parents were getting old. Every year, we celebrated their birthdays, but the parties were not just about cakes and gifts, they also indicated that time was passing.
Before then, I had never even thought my parents might need me. Inmy opinion, they are Mr and Mrs Know-it-all, and capable of anything.
I returned to Beijing in 2011, which was a relief for my parents; after all, a two and half hour flight is much better than one lasting 16 hours.