'Filial duty' prevents me from putting my parents in nursing home

By MTT   August 13, 2023 | 04:00 pm PT
I am in crisis because my elderly parents do not want hire help and object to nursing homes, while I also have work and three young children to take care of.

Sending elderly parents to a nursing home is a very hard choice for Vietnamese families. The biggest obstacle to the decision is that the children will be judged by society and relatives as unfilial for refusing to take care of their parents.

The people who have to consider sending their parents into nursing homes are those who need to go to work to earn money and take care of their children. Doing those while also taking care of their elderly parents is an extremely difficult task.

A minority of people who can afford a life with freelance work or who stay at home entirely can take care of their parents.

If the elderly parents are in a nursing home, they will receive care by staff trained in nursing skills, with specialized expertise. But the price of nursing homes in Vietnam is not cheap, surpassing the financial ability of most Vietnamese families.

Is it unfilial to pay high fees for one's parents to be cared for 24/7, to receive adequate medical support equipment that deal with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, or bed-ridden conditions?

Unfortunately, many people still answer "yes," with a rigid definition that a good child takes care of their parents by themselves.

I know the pain myself. My parents cannot get along with strangers inside the house, so they prohibit me from hiring helpers. I have my own family and three young children, so I am unable to fully devote myself to taking care of them.

I am not complaining that my parents are a burden, but I just don't know how to balance everything.

If people are more open-minded, and if my parents were more tolerant with the idea of having helpers or staying in a nursing home, perhaps the situation would be much easier for all concerned.

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