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Friday, September 2, 2011

"Asian parents in care homes", (extracts) The Guardian 2011.

"Some Asian people are turning their backs on tradition and putting their ageing parents into a home rather than within the extended family. Sarfraz Manzoor visited Aashna House in London to find out why"

"In Asian tradition, parents look after children who, in turn, look after parents: elderly relatives being cared for inside the family is something that Asians have taken great pride in, something that separated them from the supposedly heartless western custom of throwing mum and dad into a home. I remember my father saying once that the British treated their pets better than their parents; to men and women of his generation, care homes were nothing less than a moral obscenity. In this sense, Aashna House should not exist. The fact that it does is evidence that times are changing. Some British Asian children are, reluctantly and gradually, realising that they can no longer care for their parents at home."

"It is a decision few take lightly and it is rarely reported – which is what makes Fozia Khan's Channel 4 documentary, Asian Gracefully, to be shown on 4 March, so revelatory and compelling. Khan lost both her parents during four months in 2009, and that colossal loss coupled with being pregnant at the time led her to reflect on how her generation of young British Asians was dealing with its ageing parents."


"Before my visit, I expected to find Aashna House dispiriting. The truth is more complex. I am glad I don't need to think about this kind of option for my mother, but what it does, Aashna House does very well indeed. The residents are treated with great respect and dignity. It was perhaps inevitable that times would change and that the tradition of Asian children looking after their parents was doomed. That is something to mourn. The only comforting thought is that while Manjula, Egbert and the others may feel lonely living apart from their families, they have the consolation of being lonely together."

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