Family units can’t be strong if people don’t care for elderly parents

Growing individualism and strong family ties are not mutually exclusive. Singapore society needs both to thrive.

Looking after almost a million seniors in 2030 means every household would likely care for one to two elderly folks. PHOTO: ST FILE
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A recent story in The Straits Times about a widow facing loneliness and depression after her adult son and his family moved out got me thinking about the organising principle Singapore society used to be based on, with the family unit at the centre, and how this is changing.

The story told of how the 84-year-old woman eventually learnt to recognise she still had a robust relationship with her married son, who visits her for dinner every day. It ended with her putting her son’s needs above her own. She accepted the reality of living on her own and the eventuality of checking into an aged care home so she doesn’t burden her son and his family. 

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