Aging in different cultures

Close-knit families: Filipino culture

In the Philippines, we have close-knit families. Family is very important. And somehow it’s engrained in us that we have to take care of and support each other, each member in the family. And that is true with our parents. When we were young, they took care of us, so it’s our turn to take care of them when they get older. It’s engrained in us. So we don’t mind taking care of our parents.  - Beth Concepcion

[Editor’s note: in case you need to be reminded, as we did, the country is Philippines; a person is Filipino; the language is sometimes Philipino. Filipinos use eight major languages including English, Spanish and Tagalog.)

My father-in-law and I are not just daughter-in-law and father-in-law, we are very good friends. I enjoyed him when he stayed with us. One time he took me aside and said to me, "If I should die before your mommy, (my mother-in-law), would you make me a promise to take care of her?" And I said, "Of course." He’s a wonderful man even with his forgetfulness right now. He always tries to help around the house, even if sometimes he cuts the wrong bushes.

We would go in debt to go to an aging relative’s crisis.

We place a whole lot of value in traveling, no matter how much it costs to be with family. We would go in debt to go to an aging relative’s crisis. I brought all my kids to the Philippines, ages ten to ten months, by myself, when my spinster aunt, who lived with us, was sick and dying. Vic and I go to all his first and second cousin’s weddings, whether they’re in California or Toronto, or anywhere. We connect with each other all the time. My long-distance phone calls are horrendous and I have seen all of my nieces and nephews from all over the world. We gather in one place for funerals and important things. All 17 grandchildren were in Toronto for my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary, and they came from all over the world. If I’m poor at a particular time, my sister would offer me money if I didn’t have it at that time, to travel anywhere if it was an emergency. And we would do that for each other. - Kayalaan Concepcion


These comments were taken from original interviews for the Embracing Aging documentary and have been paraphrased slightly for readability.

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