If you live in China, you will be. Chinese national legislature regarding the elderly was amended late in December 2012, requiring adult children visit their aged parents “often.” While “the amendment does not specify how frequently such visits should occur,” according to the Associated Press, “the new clause will allow elderly parents who feel neglected by their children to take them to court.”

In a country where the elderly were once revered, the fact that China passed this legislature illustrates an alarming shift in cultural and financial priorities. Like many other countries, China has a growing population of aging adults along with a smaller population of young adults. Combine those factors with an increased life expectancy and economic concerns, and the result is a lack of available resources for elder care.

Some countries have taken a different course in dealing with their aging population, including Germany. While numerous senior citizens prefer to spend their golden years in another country, some German families have been “exporting” ill and elderly adults to foreign care facilities due to rising costs and lack of qualified care workers. According to the British publication, The Guardian, “researchers found an estimated 7,146 German pensioners living in retirement homes in Hungary in 2011. More than 3,000 had been sent to homes in the Czech Republic, and there were more than 600 in Slovakia.” Spain, Greece, Ukraine, Thailand and the Philippines are also popular locations for senior living facilities.

The United States also faces similar concerns about caring for our aging population. Like our European and Asian counterparts, families must consider several factors when selecting an elder care facility, including the level of care necessary, on-site medical resources and who will bear financial responsibility. A facility that is close enough for family members to visit and one that allows residents to bring familiar keepsakes are also important factors when choosing an assisted living residence or nursing home.

If the time has come that you or a family member is no longer able to maintain an independent lifestyle, contact ElderLink to discuss elder care services and options available throughout California.