Cultural Tradition Traps Many Chinese Elder-Abuse Victims in U.S.
So, the link below was in my feed reader without much in the way of connotation. Just the link, that's it. It took me to New American Media and an interesting article about the intersection of cultures and how it can lead to Elder Abuse and Neglect.
“Everyone knows revering seniors is a significant part of the Asian culture, so the other side is easily neglected, said Tazuko Shibusawa, an associate professor of social work at New York University, who studies issues affecting Asian seniors.
“In many Asian countries like Japan, people hadn’t known the existence of senior abuse until the recent years,” Shibusawa went on.
In one study, the Rush Institute’s Dong found that willful neglect—such as refusing to provide the person food or medicine--is the most common type of abuse among Chinese seniors, followed by emotional abuse and financial abuse. Physical abuse is rare. Although this was a small study, these findings are no different than among whites.
“The more seniors rely on their adult children, the more likely they are to become abuse victims,” said Peter Cheng, executive director of Indochina Sino-American Community Center, which operates the only senior protection program in the Chinese community in New York.
Cheng continued, “Many Asian seniors hold green cards sponsored by their children, and they don’t speak much English and have few other relatives or friends they can go to. This makes them more vulnerable than seniors in the mainstream community.”
Dong noted that in addition to experiencing stress from immigration in later life, filial piety, although highly valued in Asian cultures, can become a fuse for abuse.
“Filial piety requires children to obey the parents and support the parents financially. These are not the obligations of children in the American culture. When the young people cannot meet the expectation of the seniors, it often leads to conflicts,” said Dong.
Pauline Yeung, an attorney with Grimaldi and Yeung, a New York law firm specializing in aging and disability, said, “In most of our senior abuse cases, the victim is exposed during the dispute among siblings over the assets of the senior’s. Few Asian seniors would come to us themselves,” said Yeung.
So, basically, according to the article, U.S. culture directly influences the behavior of adults towards the elder population. You know what? Seems about right to me. The more we have the mentality that our loved one's are a burden, rather than a blessing, the more you will find this problem cropping up. So how do we, as legal professionals, encourage bringing the vulnerable back into our families? It can't be just lip service. Ponder that. I promise to do the same.