Traditionally, elderly people in China were held in high regard, which is rooted in the Confucian principle of filial piety. There is even a saying “of all the good virtues, respect your elders is the top most important one”. In many Chinese families, parents move in with their children when their children get married. The parents help raise children’s children, and when the parents themselves need care, their children are prepared to care for their parents until the end of their life.
The Chinese Americans carried on this tradition by bringing their parents to the United States, hoping their parents would enjoy the same peaceful and beautiful life here just as they do. However, after these elderly immigrants landed on the other side of the world with all the excitement and expectations, what they realized is that they actually not only have to deal with the physical and psychological changes that are part of the normal aging process, they also must deal with the dislocation and loss, and isolation due to the language and cultural differences. The Chinese Americans feel the pain of their parents, are very concerned, and want to do whatever it takes to help them with the transition. However, the burden from working and raising their kids have already push them to their extreme. In addition, the community service provided in the areas without a big population of immigrants such as Fargo-Moorhead are very limited. This creates a great demand for local non-profit organizations to provide activities and service for these elderly immigrants.
The senior program at the United Chinese Americans Fargo-Moorhead organization is to address the particular hardship faced by many Chinese immigrant elders in Fargo-Moorhead and surrounding area. Many Chinese immigrant elders have expressed their wishes to have all kinds of activities that they would enjoy in China, such as senior choir, dance club, photographing club, or short sight-seeing trips to nearby cities and towns, etc. The goal of the senior program is to provide a community in Fargo-Moorhead that all the Chinese immigrant elders would enjoy and feel at home. All the clubs and activities will be held as resources become available. It is expected that by the end of 2017, at least two clubs will get started.
Elderly immigrants should start a new life here. Let’s celebrate their golden age with rejoice together!