Career opportunities take individuals and their families away from their home country. Their focus is on the new job and adjusting to life in another country. In most cases parents have encouraged their child to take advantage of the unique opportunity to work and live in a foreign land. Expats quickly learn that life in another country is exciting but more complicated. They have a new life to build and challenges to handle, so less thought is given to their relatives back home. It isn’t that they don’t care; it is simply a matter of human nature that if someone is absent the person may be overlooked.
Today most pensioners are leading active lives so we don’t have to worry about them. However, a relative’s health status can change suddenly and dramatically. When we live on the other side of the world we feel helpless. When our in-laws are from another culture, expectations and approaches to end of life may conflict with our own values. Caring for your loved ones from a distance or where cultural variations exist is a multi-faceted issue and there isn’t one right answer.
Expats and immigrants dealing with a frail or ill loved ones around the world have commented that they were managing but there are challenges. These individuals living abroad described unexpected challenges, frustrations and a desire to have known more about what to expect and options in advance.
Very little has been researched and written on the topic of caring for aging loved ones from another country or culture. Consequently, a survey has been developed and is being distributed around the world. This questionnaire examines a number of areas including: grasp of situation, communication, family dynamics, finances, and more.
The research is being undertaken by Elizabeth Vennekens-Kelly, Director at Cross Cultural Consulting and author of Subtle Differences, Big Faux Pas. Are you an expat grappling with this issue? If so, Elizabeth invites you to have your say by completing the online survey.
The survey is open until the 31st May 2016.
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