The Emotional Needs of Older Adults

A 2,500-year-old Confucian ideal may have finally run its course. That ideal is called filial obligation, and it refers to the responsibility that adult children have toward their parents as mandated by their culture. This particularly speaks to parents’ needs in later life. Filial obligation has been a cornerstone of life in China, Japan, and other Asian countries for centuries. It was basically a given that elders would live with younger family members in multigenerational households, and that the older relatives would assume an important role in family dynamics. But a new law in China is a wake-up call that things clearly have changed.

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