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[Comments] (1) the art of miscommunication: I've been pondering the whole concept of children being required to take care of their parents, since the ways and methods here are quite different from back home. For starters, it is more of a patriarchal society here in elderly care than back home. An example that comes to mind is that Susie and I, upon finishing up at BYU, moved to CA to help take care of Susie's mother before she passed away. That was fine by me, and we were happy to do it, even though CA was not our ideal place to live, given our long-term lifestyle choices. But I was happy to do it, as my role mostly was working so Susie could go home on weekends and visit her mother.

Here it appears to work in the opposite frame, wherein newly-married daughters-in-law often move in and take care of their parents-in-law, while the husband trots off to work. I'd imagine that is a lot tougher than my scenario described above, since it leaves you caring for people that aren't your parents. Kudos to the wonderful women of this country.

But the other difference I note is harder to discuss. I was telling my driver Sandeep how my parents live on their own. I live roughly 11 miles from them, can rush to their side (or to a nearby hospital) lickety-split, as neeeded (have done so, actually), but otherwise I leave them to live their life while I live mine. We often tried to visit my dad with the kids once for a few hours on the weekend as time permitted. Otherwise, we were on our own.

Here, caring for them means moving in with them. I tried to ask Sandeep why this is necessary (Sandeep's brother cares for his parents, back in the village, while he is here working). I mean, my parents can still do things for themselves. And Sandeep's parents are younger than mine and can still apparently do things for themselves as well. Our conversation was thus:

Me: But why do they need your brother? Do they need him to cook for them?

Sandeep: No, sir. My mother only can cook. My brother cannot cook.

Me: So do they need him to help them get dressed/go to the bathroom/go shopping?

Sandeep: No, sir. They only can do these things.

Me: Then what does your brother do for them?

Sandeep: He takes care of them, sir.

Me: Takes care of them means....

Sandeep: He looks after them.

Me: How does he look after them?

Sandeep: He makes sure their needs are met.

Me: What needs? Does he cook for them? Clean for them?

Sandeep: No, sir. The maid will clean.

Me: But if they do all these things, what does your brother do for them.

Sandeep: He looks after them, sir.

I guess Sandeep is Abbott to my Costello but I'm still very unclear who's on first.

If my parents required, I would move them into my home in a heartbeat. Heck, I even moved into their home for five months last year for reasons that now escape me. But in the meantime, until I understand how exactly my living with them is caring for them, I'm content with my 11-mile space.

What could I possibly be missing, I wonder?


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