This is something we have discussed a lot in the past years. “What to do later” actually means what do we do later with her parents when they need help.
Planing ahead on how to take care for your parents has in Asian countries a whole different meaning than in many European countries.
In Germany most elderly people are often pushed by their family into retirement homes rather than taken in by their families into their homes to be taken care of. In China on the other hand it’s the other way around. Even when those families do have money to send their parents to retirement homes, they prefer taking them into their own homes and either take care of them by their own or hire some nurse to help out.
I guess most Chinese living abroad have been wondering about the very same question rather much. This is because if they build themselves a life in a foreign country they would need to give it all up just be with their parents back in China. Why giving it all up? Well, the world is a cruel place and many countries make it under normal circumstances nearly impossible to get your own parents to stay with you. Sure there are exceptions, as I know some Chinese in Finland who own restaurants and basically get first either their mother or father to work there for 5 years to get a permanent residence permit and afterwards get the other parent as this one will get a residence permit immediately due to the permit of the partner. Indeed not an easy way.
Now back to my story. As we plan to move soon back to Germany it will be pretty much impossible to get her parents to stay with us later. The law in Germany is pretty strict and chances are close to zero to ever getting her parents live with us. My wife pretty much doubts also that her parents would feel comfortable in such a different environment.
They are happy in China and life is so very different in Europe.
So what does it leave us? We have actually no clue at all. We have been discussing this topic so often that it is currently on hold because neither of us wants to think about it anymore. Not only because it is so complicated but also it is just awful to think ahead and imagine your own parents in a condition that they are in dire need of you.The only thing we can think of is either hiring professional help later in form of a nurse helping them out in their own home or somehow finding a very good retirement home (which are often incredible expensive and at the moment out of our league).
Many might say “Just move to China!”. It is not as easy as it sounds and you never know when this situation of need might occur. Maybe it is in the middle of your own children’s school education or during important project work for your company, can you just leave everything behind like that and start entirely anew? Furthermore, my wife has no wish to ever move back to China. For her, a month staying for holidays in China are already too much, she hates the pollution, the noise, and the people (the mass of them and mostly their behavior).
As you can see, we still have much to figure out. We doubt that the migration law in Germany will change anytime soon in our favor in this situation so we really have to create other plans for the future.
Do you have similar troubles when thinking ahead in your life?
P.S. as this blog is titled “My Crazy Chinese Family” I did not talk about my own parents who are actually a whole bit older than my parents in law. But do not fear, I have no wish to send them to some retirement home and thus far my wife shares my opinion.