By Shyamal Raja 17.06.23 07.41
Placing parents in care homes is a decision that many families, including those from Indian and Asian backgrounds, grapple with as their loved ones age and require specialised care. It’s not an easy choice, and there’s a prevalent stigma and taboo associated with it in our cultures. Today, I want to delve into this topic and shed light on the underlying factors contributing to this stigma, the challenges it presents, and the need for a more open and supportive conversation surrounding care homes within our cultural contexts.
In our Indian and Asian cultures, the concept of filial piety holds immense significance. It emphasises the responsibility and duty of adult children to care for their aging parents. Traditionally, it’s expected that parents live with their children and be supported within the family unit. Therefore, even considering the option of care homes can be seen as a breach of filial piety, leading to feelings of guilt, shame, and societal judgment.
The stigma surrounding care homes in our cultures can stem from various factors. Firstly, there are deeply ingrained cultural expectations that discourage placing parents in care homes. The expectation to care for our parents at home is deeply rooted, and seeking alternative care arrangements can be viewed as neglecting our filial obligations. This societal pressure can deter families from even considering care homes as a viable option. The fear of judgment and societal opinions often shapes our decision-making process.
Additionally, the stigma is fueled by the fear of losing face and family honor. In our collectivist cultures, maintaining family honor and reputation is of utmost importance. Placing parents in care homes may be seen as a sign of family failure or an admission of being unable to fulfill our filial duties, which can result in feelings of shame and loss of face within our community. I have known many to contemplate and say, “What will others think and say?” These concerns lead them to make assumptions about how choices will be perceived and judged by those around them.
Another factor contributing to the stigma is the fear of isolation that our elderly parents might experience in care homes. We worry that they might feel lonely or neglected when separated from the extended family network. The thought of our parents not receiving emotional support or being unable to engage in familiar cultural activities can be deeply concerning. In reality, care homes provide round-the-clock carers, companionship, and a community of like-minded individuals. Placing your loved one in a care home ensures that they receive the constant attention, care, and affection that you may not be able to provide on your own.
Financial obligations also play a role in perpetuating the stigma. Care home funding can be complex and often misunderstood. Many assume that care homes are costly services that only a few can afford. However, it’s important to know that not everyone has to pay the full cost. Local authorities offer financial support to those who can’t afford care, covering the entire fee in most cases. Private funding requires means testing to determine financial ability. This ensures fair contributions from individuals based on their income, savings, and assets. Seeking professional advice and planning can provide valuable assistance in navigating care home funding decisions.
It’s crucial to break the stigma and have open conversations about this topic within our communities. By encouraging dialogue, we can create a safe space for individuals to share their experiences, concerns, and questions surrounding care homes. We need to educate ourselves and others about the different care options available, including the benefits and advantages of care homes. These facilities provide specialised care, socialisation opportunities, and support networks tailored to the needs of elderly individuals.
It’s essential to understand the high standards of care provided in reputable care homes such as the ones I have listed below. They have trained professionals who ensure the well-being of residents. By highlighting the expertise, safety measures, and personalized attention given to residents, we can address concerns about neglect or mistreatment that might contribute to the stigma.
Additionally, promoting community involvement in care homes can help alleviate the fear of isolation. Developing care home environments that actively involve families and the wider community can ensure that our parents maintain connections with loved ones and have opportunities to engage in cultural celebrations and activities.
In conclusion, it’s time to challenge the stigma and taboo surrounding placing parents in care homes within our Indian and Asian cultures. We must foster open dialogue, educate ourselves and others, and emphasise the benefits of care homes. By doing so, we can make informed decisions that prioritise the well-being of our aging parents while balancing our cultural values. Specialist care homes that cater to our specific cultural needs can be a valuable resource in this regard.
These specialist care homes are designed and developed to meet the needs of Indian and Asian service users. They understand the importance of cultural sensitivity and strive to create an environment that reflects our traditions and values. From the language spoken within the home to the culturally appropriate activities and meals, everything is tailored to ensure our parents feel comfortable and connected to their cultural heritage.
One of the significant advantages of these care homes is the delicious food they offer. They take pride in providing authentic and flavorful cuisine that caters to our specific tastes and preferences. Our parents can enjoy the familiar and traditional dishes they love, fostering a sense of nostalgia and comfort.
By recommending these specialist care homes, we acknowledge that while many services try their best to personalise care, they may not always meet the unique needs of our culture as effectively as these homes do. The dedicated focus on cultural appropriateness ensures that our parents receive the care they deserve while feeling a strong sense of cultural belonging.
It is crucial to recognise that placing our parents in care homes should not be seen as a failure or a betrayal of our cultural values. Instead, it should be viewed as a responsible decision that prioritises their well-being and ensures they receive the specialised care they may require. It is a testament to our love and concern for them, as we strive to provide the best possible care and support.
Let us embrace a more open and supportive conversation surrounding care homes within our cultural contexts. By challenging the stigma, educating ourselves and others, and highlighting the benefits of these specialized care homes, we can create an environment where families feel supported and empowered to make the best decisions for their aging parents. Our cultural values and the well-being of our loved ones can harmoniously coexist when we approach the topic of care homes with empathy, understanding, and an appreciation for the specialized care they provide.
I often come across friends or people in the community who ask for support with caring for their elders. While our care homes may not be specialist Gujarati or Hindi speaking facilities, we do our best to understand and accommodate the unique needs of our residents. We strive to personalise care plans to ensure cultural sensitivity and respect. However, for those specifically seeking Hindi or Gujarati-speaking care homes with specialised food options and an Asian lifestyle, I highly recommend the following facilities. They excel in providing culturally appropriate care and creating an environment where residents feel at home and connected to their traditions and language.
- Vishram Ghar Residential Care Home, 120 Armadale Dr, Leicester LE5 1HF 0116 241 9584
- Gokul Vrandavan Care Home, 12-14 Windsor Avenue, Leicester, LE4 5DT 0116 266 1378
- Diwali Nivas Residential Home, 38 Westcotes Dr, Leicester LE3 0QR 0116 233 4440
- Rushey Mead Manor Care and Nursing Home, 30 Coatbridge Avenue Rushey, Leicester LE4 7ZS 0116 266 6606
- Karuna Manor Care Home, Christchurch Ave, Harrow HA3 5BD 020 8861 9600
- Kailash Manor Care Home, Royston Grove, Pinner HA5 4HE 020 4538 7333
- Sairam Villa Nursing Home, 116 Headstone Dr, Harrow HA1 4UH 020 8861 2719
- Neem Tree Care Centre, 118 Oldfield Ln S, Greenford UB6 9JX 020 8578 9537