A prob­lem that be­comes more press­ing with ev­ery pass­ing year

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA - Luo Wang­shu

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.

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