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    Looking after the Aunties and Uncles

    by Rohin on 2nd December, 2005 at 9:31 pm    

    Yesterday was World AIDS Day. Sorry I wasn’t able to post anything up, but PP had a brief AIDS in Asia roundup here.

    I wanted to bring a far lower profile ‘day’ to your attention, Carers’ Rights Day. A carer is essentially defined as a person who looks after someone who has a disability or illness without getting paid. A figure most have not heard is that the estimated money carers save the government and the NHS is a staggering £57 billion.

    This year the main objectives of Carers’ Rights Day is to raise awareness of the financial burdens carers can face and the thing I want to briefly talk about - the elderly.

    An old person can be a carer (often for their spouse) or they can be looked after themselves. £746 million in benefits for carers has gone unclaimed in the last year, and Carers UK claims the majority of this is due to older carers not being aware of what they are entitled to. They specifically identify black and ethnic minority groups as communities who are missing out on claiming money to help look after family members.

    The subcategory of ‘Asian carers’ has been identified as of late. Chinese and ‘South Asian’ carers are considered less likely to seek help as they regard it as “shameful” to ask for assistance with looking after a loved one, or even to make the information a family member is disabled public. Language problems are obviously major obstacles and many attempts have been made to recruit social workers who can speak Bengali, Sylheti, Urdu, Punjabi and Gujarati.

    I’m quite vocal in my opinion that if you live here, you must learn English. But I have recently come to learn that in some more insular communities, specifically Bangladeshi and Pakistani families I’ve visited, the carer simply does not have the chance to learn anything. If a family member is disabled, the carer (always female) spends their entire lives disconnected from the community at large completely.

    They don’t have a career. Disabilities affecting the mind remain the biggest taboo amongst Asians, wherever in the world they may be. But, as mentioned in a previous thread about consanguinity, there is a higher rate of learning disability amongst Pakistanis in the UK.

    Which brings me to my next meandering point - changes to Asian social structure. Less and less British Asians are choosing to look after their parents in their old age. What is still the norm in the subcontinent is not regarded as viable in the West, rightly or wrongly. But even in India, the amount of nursing and retirement homes has risen exponentially as of late, as India ‘Westernizes’ (sic). Perhaps not to the same extent as amongst NRIs, Indians are unwilling to let their parents live with them once they get old and frequently work commitments take people far from their family homes.

    Asians in Britain are in fact responsible for the rise in the number of nursing homes in the UK as well, as they have been identified by the government as one of the five main sectors to which Asian entrepreneurs have contributed to the UK (the other four being hospitality, wholesale (cash&carry!), convenience stores and property investment). Whether all these nursing homes are up-to-scratch is another subject in itself. Yet another interesting spin on this issue is the creation of at least two Muslim nursing/retirement homes in the UK. Ah…faith-nursing homes.

    I’m not trying to sermonise, I can’t put my hand on my heart and say I’m going to want my Mum to live with me when she’s older. But, as a registered carer myself, I just wanted to give this day a little exposure.

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    22 Comments below   |  

    1. Sunny — on 2nd December, 2005 at 9:51 pm  

      You good Indian boy you!

    2. damn — on 2nd December, 2005 at 9:57 pm  

      lmao at faith based nursing homes

    3. sonia — on 3rd December, 2005 at 2:15 am  

      that’s fantastic - thanks for flagging this up!

    4. Sakshi — on 3rd December, 2005 at 6:00 am  

      Really good write-up.

    5. blue mountain — on 3rd December, 2005 at 1:00 pm  

      Faith based school
      Faith based nursing homes

      What next ?

    6. Col. Mustafa — on 3rd December, 2005 at 1:19 pm  

      Good read dude.

      When it comes to the issue of old age parents and whether i look after them or not, it seems as though i dont have a choice.
      I think i would just out of pure guilt.
      But its not the same for everyone.

    7. shihab — on 3rd December, 2005 at 2:21 pm  

      Why don’t Asians send their folks to nursing homes? Why? Asian based nursing homes should be set up everywhere. Better my dad was in a home where busty nurses wiped his butt than staying with me, where I’d surely torture him

    8. Sunny — on 3rd December, 2005 at 2:22 pm  

      I don’t see anything wrong with faith based nursing homes to be honest. As people get older they get more into religion, and presumably want to be looked after in ways that fit in with their religion… or are surrounded by people who follow that faith? Certainly for the first generation of Asians, less so for future gens.

    9. shiraz — on 3rd December, 2005 at 3:14 pm  

      very informative article. i actually knew of carers day, and its a good point you raise with regards to unclaimed benefits. Maybe you perhaps should look at the long and confusing procedure that carers actually have to go through to receive any sort of financial support, financial difficulties are just one of the burdens that carers face.

    10. NishaS — on 3rd December, 2005 at 4:02 pm  

      This is the first time I’ve heard about Carers’ Rights Day. Your article was…..enlightening, even if i don’t live in the UK. The bit about looking after parents in their old age struck a chord with me. Where i’m from, many people choose not to care for their elderly parents. Some simply cannot afford to and others just don’t care. Maybe for your next article, you can write a piece about the generation gap between NRI/ Asian grandparents and their grandkids.

    11. Rohin — on 3rd December, 2005 at 5:21 pm  

      Cool, I didn’t know what everyone would make of this, but glad some of you found it interesting. Sunny I don’t have a problem with them either, I just mused to myself how it’s now quite easy to live in the UK your entire life and never mix with anyone outside your community. Not making a big statement about suicide bombers, I’m really referring to women who live immensely sheltered, or rather shut-off lives.

      Nisha, the NRI-1st gen grandparents generation chasm is a massive topic, but I’ll be sure to chip at it bit by bit.

    12. Siddharth — on 3rd December, 2005 at 5:45 pm  

      Wait til you guys get married. Then you’ll have two sets of parentage to look after!

    13. Sunny — on 3rd December, 2005 at 7:00 pm  

      Lol at Siddhartha. Exactly! Man I have enough trouble hanging around with my parents now, I shudder to think what it’ll be like in 10 years time when I’m married (hopefully) and have kids (hopefully). I’m just hoping I’ll have enough money to look after them financially, so they can live close enough, but not too close to constantly poke their business into my life.

    14. NorahJones — on 3rd December, 2005 at 8:05 pm  

      There are asian based nursing homes.

      I know of a mixed (indians, pakistani, bangladeshi etc) retirement “village” in Brum called Kalyan Ashram which is part of the Ashram Housing group.

      I used to work for Ashram so did a tour of all the sheltered housing schemes they have. Kalyan is a lovely place to be for most of them. Its semi-independant, they have their own little apartments contained within the scheme with the benefit of having a 24hr on call system if needed.


      Ashram also have DV refuges for south asian women, mostly women who cannot speak english and therefore cannot go through refuges like Womens Aid.

      There is also Nisa Ashram who deal with south asian women with mental health issues.

    15. NorahJones — on 3rd December, 2005 at 8:15 pm  

      With regard to faith based homes, I should’ve added to my previous post that although Kalyan is not run according to religious belief it is quite easy to figure out which faith they belong to.

      They have cute little stickers and pictures of deities in their front windows!

      They don’t half squabble about religion and partition though.

    16. Monty — on 3rd December, 2005 at 9:17 pm  

      We are carers at this house too. In line with you theme, I would like to flag up another aspect of family care which is sure to place a severe strain on families of any ethnic background, and that is the care of patients with Dementia. Extra money is of limited help to these carers. What they need is respite care to forestall nervous breakdown themselves. I’m sure we can all imagine the strain of caring for someone who is liable to wander from the house at night, or turn on the gas, or start a fire while the family is asleep. In such cases, more practical help is needed.

    17. NorahJones — on 3rd December, 2005 at 9:31 pm  

      At Kalyan? Is that you Tony?

    18. Rohin — on 4th December, 2005 at 3:30 am  

      This is my thread, I can hijack it.

      Watch this. Please can someone tell me, is it for real? It was on gvod a little while ago and it’s so mental it has to be real. Either that or Iranians are a lot better at comedy than I thought.

      But watch it, it’s hilarious and entirely within PP’s remit.

    19. sonia — on 4th December, 2005 at 4:27 am  

      ain’t nothing wrong with faith-based stuff when its out of the the Individual’s free choice.


    20. sonia — on 4th December, 2005 at 4:34 am  

      oh me gosh! hilarious indeed. is it real - well the video looked it, but i hope for those poor ladies sake they dont try it again (assuming they did for the video..) just think u only need to trip up on those ninja robes once waving those firearms about and that’s it!

      or..they’ll get the robe thingie stuck in the car door and wont be able to chase after the crooks..

      oh it did make me laugh though.

    21. sonia — on 4th December, 2005 at 4:36 am  

      anyway point above - most people across the world live most of their lives in mostly the ’same community’ or same ‘type of community’ ( or stick to what they know) at the end of the day.

    22. Col. Mustafa — on 4th December, 2005 at 4:13 pm  

      “Watch this. Please can someone tell me, is it for real?”

      hhehe, errm wow.
      Dunno what to say about that, but atleast there doing something.
      It does look very comical, but it seems as though iranians are giving training for women police which is a good idea.

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