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VIDEO: For Chinese, caregiving part of Confucius social contract

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E-Shien "Iggy" Chang is co-investigator of The PINE Study with the Chinese Health, Policy and Aging Program at Rush Institute for Healthy Aging, Rush University Medical Center. She explains at Washington Post Live's Caregiving in America forum the role of filial piety within the Chinese community. (Meena Ganesan/The Washington Post)
E-Shien Chang at Washington Post Live’s Caregiving in America forum in Chicago. (Photo by Ashlee Rezin/The Washington Post)

“The Chinese community is one of the fastest-growing populations in the United States, but we know so little about their needs, about their aging processes. A lot of the expectation is intertwined with what we call “filial piety,” the Confucian  ideal that really dictates each child’s obligatory responsibility to take care of their parents when they grow old. However, there is a reciprocation. Parents are also expected to provide overall guidance and wisdom to their family member. When you’re growing up, your parents are supposed to give you unconditional love, but at the same time, the children will also reciprocate in the way that the piety, the filial care, is not only practical support. It’s not only material support. But also emotional support. That’s really the relationship, the expectation, that’s binding all the families together.”

-E-Shien Chang, researcher, RUSH University Medical Center


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