Loyalty, Responsibility And Sacrifice
Story of a Home Care Services user
Many elderly Australians want to spend their final years in their homes instead of in aged care residential facilities. Home Care Services can be tailored to seniors’ individual needs so they can receive assistance without moving. CASS is one of the organisations providing such services.
Mr Chan was one of our clients. He was born in Guangdong in the 1930s and moved to Hong Kong in the 50s, where he worked in ship building and restaurants. After coming to Sydney in 1967, he worked in restaurants until his retirement. After that, he and his wife did a fair bit of travelling. His son says that these years were the best of his parents’ lives.
Over the last five years, Mr and Mrs Chan have both received help from CASS Home Care Services, after Mrs Chan was diagnosed with dementia. It requires a lot of physical energy and patience to look after a patient with dementia. With the assistance of a carer, Mr Chan insisted on looking after his wife at home. But his own health was also deteriorating, so his son decided to make arrangements for Mrs Chan to be admitted to a residential aged care facility.
Mrs Chan’s carer regarded Mr Chan as a faithful man who was devoted to his wife. He asked the carer to take him to visit Mrs Chan every week, rain or shine.
Apart from his immediate family, Mr Chan had also for years supported his relatives and was seen as someone with a high sense of responsibility and loyalty to his family. Since his youth, he had set aside a portion of his salary to be sent to them in Guangzhou and Hong Kong. His nephew recalled that when he was a child, his family in Hong Kong was poor. His uncle, Mr Chan, knew that the nephew’s mother would not accept money from him, so he would use excuses such as buying treats to support them financially.
Mr Chan’s son has poignant childhood memories. “Every time I said goodbye to my father when he left for work, I knew it would be days before I saw him again. I knew his work in restaurants was demanding, and it was not a job he liked, but it was the only one he could get. He worked six days a week and was always tired when he got home. He worked hard because he wanted me to be educated so that I could find a better job and not have to work so hard.”
Mr Chan’s story is similar to that told by many elderly Chinese migrants. He has worked hard all his life, sacrificing his own needs to support his family and relatives.
Not long ago, Mr Chan passed away. His son repeatedly thanked the staff of CASS, grateful for the loving care they had shown to his father, not just as a service user, but like a family member. His carer was also grateful to have met and assisted him.
Mr Chan is a classic role model from the older generation: loyal to his wife and with unreserved love and care for his family and relatives. These values are sadly not as prevalent nowadays. The sacrifices made by Mr Chan for his family remind all of us of traditional Chinese values of loyalty, responsibility and sacrifice.