In developing countries, the extended family has long been celebrated as a model for how to care for older people within the family home.
Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia and China are rapidly urbanising and confronting the same issues as us.
Consider this brief extract from an article in the Jakarta Post: Is this the Asian example Hunt wants us to emulate?
But as the global recession grips, it becomes harder for people to continue sending money back to care for the older generation.
Even if people work locally, it is now common practice in an increasing number of countries – including India and China – for both men and women to work and the situation is exacerbated by a work culture of long hours, leaving little or no time to take care of parents.
(So much for the BBC’s anti-government bias.) I decided to track the figures down and discovered a study by Keming Yang and Christina Victor entitled .
It found that the percentage of elderly people reporting feelings of loneliness varied widely throughout Europe. As you can see, northern Europe, including the UK, comes out pretty well.Tory politicians spent the weekend telling us that we should be more like the Chinese.Fresh from his recent visit, a starry-eyed George Osborne praised China while dismissing Britain as defeatist and second-rate.Broadly speaking, those living in Northern European nations report lower levels of loneliness across the age groups than those in Southern Europe, which is consistent with previous studies (Jylhä and Jokela 1990; Sundström 2009; Walker 1993).People in most Northern European nations, including Denmark, Finland, Norway, The Netherlands, Ireland and Switzerland, report the lowest levels of loneliness across all three age groups: the prevalence for the young and the middle-aged are below 4 per cent and below 6 per cent for those aged 60 .After a BBC survey found that many elderly people in Britain felt lonely, the health secretary, whose wife in Chinese, branded the findings a source of “national shame” and said we should learn from Asian cultures where there was “reverence and respect for older people” and “residential care is a last rather than a first option”.