Saturday, April 14, 2007

Caring for parents, a sacred obligation not an option

Love makes sacrifice a pleasure

I refer to your report “Minister: Time has not come to punish those who abandoned parents” (Star April 12).

There is no doubt Malaysians generally still love their parents but regrettably the number of those who don’t is on the rise. I dread to imagine the day when the government has to resort to legislation to enforce this love for parents by their children.

With increasing standard of living the life expectancy of the average Malaysian has prolonged. Today our parents are healthier and live longer than before. This has put greater strain on our financial and physical resources to care for their special needs at their advanced age.

Caring for our elderly parents has become a problem these days when both husband and wife have to work to make ends meet. In addition to that we have to provide for the needs of the children which are increasing tremendously over the years.

There is no doubt that we have to give priority to our own spouse and children.At the same time we also have a duty towards our aged parents. Some of them may be healthy while others may suffer from various illnesses or even be bed-ridden.

Very often it is impossible for us to be there physically all the time to care for them especially those who are very old and infirm. We have no choice but to send them to an old folk’s home where their basic needs and nursing care are available. In our Asian culture sending our parents to old folks home is considered a despicable and ungrateful act. Is it really so?

There are 2 main needs of an elderly person, companionship and medical. No single individual can provide both of these effectively. On the other hand a properly run old folk’s home, staffed with doctors and nurses, may be better poised to provide both these needs reasonably well. Unfortunately such a home is hard to come by and if it does it is often beyond the means of many.

Sending our aged parents to old folks home should not necessarily mean we are ungrateful and cruel.Honouring our parents is not just providing food and shelter but being a companion to rid them of the loneliness and fear that grips them in the twilight years of their lives.

There are many aged parents who are captives in their own homes. There may be many in the family but yet the elderly are left lonely and despised as no one has the time to spare for them. We easily forget the days when they showered all the love we needed without any ulterior motive. To them then, love for us made their sacrifice a pleasure not pain.

We must fight this disease of abandoning the parents that is inflicting our society. Our treatment of our elderly parents, like our children, must always be guided by our love for them. Wherever they may be, in our homes or in an old folk’s home, they must always be in our hearts.

Dr.Chris Anthony


Anonymous said...

I totally agree with Dr. Chris. I think he has made us ponder(at least for me) we are treating our parents these days. Thanks and keep up the good work!

Dr.Chris Anthony said...

Thank you very much.

I hope you continue to read my articles.

Thank you
God bless


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